This is the most delirious film of the festival. Its title indicates it: Who's Crazy?. When leaving the theater on the Rue Antibes where this work of a young American producer-director, Tom White, has been showing to festival-goers for two days, the spectator asks himself sincerely the question.
Who is crazy? Is it the mentally sick runaways from an asylum that the film shows us or traditional society who sends its policemen to put them back on the "right track"? Backbiters could just simply say that it could be the director. But let us contradict these insinuating noises; a conversation with Tom White, who was the assistant of Roger Vadim in "Chateau en Suede" allows us to assure ourselves of his perfect mental state.
He doesn't slow down until an hour and twenty minutes have passed of audio-visual delirium - the film is the beneficiary of a musical track recorded by saxophonist Ornette Coleman, one of the Popes of modern jazz - the spectator tears himself out of his seat holding his head in both hands.
"I wanted to make a musical tragedy as others make musical comedies", says Tom White, a long young man in blue jeans with an abundant blonde mane. "For this I reduced the dialogue to a strict minimum (I do not like talky films) and I called in Ornette Coleman who is a genius. In this film I wanted to pose the problem of the relativity of insanity. Released from constraint, the lunatics - or such as they are called - organize themselves in a society which, to all irrational appearances, makes its own rules and falls near the mark of an organization at least as valid as that of a classic society".
To realize this eulogy of folly, Tom White called in the troupe of The Living Theater of New York. These are not actors that you can go to sleep on. In the United States they were among the first to bring into vogue the famous Happenings, theatrical improvisations in the course of which both the actors and the spectators did everything which came into their heads. The actors eat their lunch on the stage, muddle around in jam, throw tomatoes at the spectators (and vice versa), blow up bicycle tires or give themselves over to eccentricities far less innocent. So much less innocent that the Living Theater were asked to go elsewhere to exercise their talents.
They emigrate to Europe where the Happening began to exercise its ravages. It was in Belgium that Tom White caught up to them to shoot his film. "But", he says insistently, "Here there is no question of a Happening. First, my film has nothing about it that is pornographic; furthermore it tells a story. All right, I improvised, but in departure from a precise theme: a scenario of thirty-three pages."
For the improvisations, we can be confident of these young, long-hared and bearded foxes of the Living Theater. Result: the thirty-three pages of scenario became a mountain of film representing nine hours of wild projection. Tom White kept eighty minutes of it: the concentrated nectar of collective delirium.
"Agreed", recognizes Tom, "my film will not make a commercial career, but one will be able to see it with profit in the art houses and you will see that in a few years it will be considered as the symbol of the times in which we are living."
In awaiting this consecration, "Who's Crazy?" has already found an enthusiastic supporter in the person of Salvador Dali. The master, his mustache carefully waxed, his crooked cane in his hand, the cape over his shoulders, came and sat majestically in the projection room. He looked at the whole thing without flinching, and at the end, he let fall a verdict which was an inestimable praise:
C' est presque du dali...
It's almost Dali...