Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Two Takes (The Criterion Collection) Blu Ray review

Meta, Experimental, Veritie, Post modern, reflexivity. A heap of words are thrown at the screen and the surround of William Greaves Symbiopsychotaxiplasm. A film about making a film, the relationship between an event, the interconnection of performance on relationship. The breakdown of the wall between the capture of acting and the recording of the reaction. A group of actors subjected to probes. And a director looking to document whole networks of the inter tangled lives of creative peoples and the noxious elements of creative passion.

William Greaves was more than a pioneer. He was a visionary. He wanted to document existence. Now in Symbiopsychotaxiplasm he almost does. But I suspect he was interested more in the creation of art. Or maybe the artistic material and its viscus measures. Even maybe he tickled the power of form manipulation and interaction. This manifests in ideas of the walls we artificially construct. A talking point we all should engage with. Funnily he does this by engaging with our audience in a non pretentious way and ends up with vast swaths of film students digging with verbs into his environment.

I would highly recommend the novice viewer to start with the Amy Taubin essay. It explains the mode, medium and mood of the work. I would say to the intermediate actor, watch Discovering William Greaves. His contemporaries and his own voice, fuses the product with the ideas that stream the cake of creation. It is refreshing to see that the power of what he did is compressed and instead a conversation about making a film and making it work is more foreground.


• High-definition digital transfers of both films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
• Discovering William Greaves, a 2006 documentary on Greaves’s career, featuring Greaves, his wife and coproducer Louise Archambault, actor Ruby Dee, filmmaker St. Clair Bourne, and film scholar Scott MacDonald
• Interview from 2006 with actor Steve Buscemi
• Trailer
• English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• PLUS: An essay by critic Amy Taubin and production notes by Greaves for Take One

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