While some have heard the jazz score by Ornette Coleman, little was known about this long-lost, 1966 anarchic film until a print resurfaced in 2016. Who’s Crazy? is a bizarre but fascinating experimental film from director Thomas White, who throws conventional storytelling out the window. He dreams up a visual and sonic collage and creates a surreal, jazz-fueled romp. As White’s only feature, Who’s Crazy? is mostly known for its eerie soundtrack. Coleman and his band develop an abstract sonic composition, superbly mirroring the film’s avant-garde style.
Who’s Crazy? is not only offbeat and unconventional but also a rare cinematic find. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966 and in the ensuing years was widely believed to be lost. Producer Vanessa McDonnell was a fan of Coleman’s music and was determined to find a copy. Luckily, White still had a dust-covered print in his garage. Thanks to the restoration producer’s efforts, the rediscovered film is back after a 50-year hiatus.
The plot centers on a group of escaped mental-institution patients who find refuge in a barn. Shot in black-and-white in rural Belgium, Who’s Crazy? comes to life in playful theatrical improvisations by the Living Theater, a New York–based experimental performance troupe. The loose and mercurial performances and camerawork are energized through the rhythm of Coleman’s distinctive tunes, with bassist David Izenzon and drummer Charles Moffett.
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