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Tear Down the WallsWhite Radicalism and Black Power in 1960s Rock$
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Patrick Burke

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226768182

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226768359.001.0001

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One Plus One Jean-Luc Godard Meets the Rolling Stones

One Plus One Jean-Luc Godard Meets the Rolling Stones

London Film Festival, November 29, 1968

(p.69) 3 One Plus One Jean-Luc Godard Meets the Rolling Stones
Tear Down the Walls

Patrick Burke

University of Chicago Press

On November 29, 1968, One Plus One (aka Sympathy for the Devil), a film starring the Rolling Stones and directed by French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard, received a contentious premiere at the London Film Festival. The film juxtaposes documentary footage of the Rolling Stones recording their album Beggars Banquet with staged scenes of black militants reading Black Power texts by Amiri Baraka and Eldridge Cleaver, in an implied critique of the Stones’ cultural appropriation of Black music. One Plus One is a critical, multilayered essay on the elusiveness of an authentic political stance, and it casts a cynical eye on rock’s revolutionary aspirations and interracial mimicry. In an indirect but provocative way, Godard suggests that historians and critics should approach rock, not as an unambiguous signifier of revolution, but rather as the elusive object of complex, often contradictory, representations of its political and cultural significance.

Keywords:   Jean-Luc Godard, One Plus One, Sympathy for the Devil, Rolling Stones, Black Power, Beggars Banquet, cultural appropriation, Eldridge Cleaver, revolution

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