GME distributes several important Zanzibar titles, including Jackie Raynal's DEUX FOIS (1969), Serge Bard's DÉTRUISEZ-VOUS (1968) and VITE (1969), also by Bard and included on GME's release of another of his Zanzibar titles, ICI ET MAINTENANT (1968). DEUX FOIS, DÉTRUISEZ-VOUS and VITE are now screening in the Paris, May ’68: Zanzibar and Philippe Garrel films series at the National Gallery of Art through May 27th.
During the volatile late 1960s in Paris, the filmmaking collective known as Zanzibar began creating outsider underground movies, many of which are now lost or neglected. The group (consisting of Philippe Garrel, Jackie Raynal, Serge Bard, Daniel Pommereulle, Olivier Mosset, Frédéric Pardo, Patrick Deval, Caroline de Bendern, Zouzou, and one or two others) resembled a clique of Warhol Factoryesque characters — artists, writers, actors, and models, a few of whom had actually worked at the Factory. Though all were cinephiles, jointly they had only modest movie-making experience. Yet the Zanzibar films, with their refreshing lack of regard for revenue, are infused with the countercultural energy and restlessness of May 1968. Zanzibar’s benefactor, hippie heiress Sylvina Boissonnas, generously funded many of these works in expensive 35mm format. Within two years’ time, however, Boissonnas had moved on to other projects. Similarly, most members of the group eventually abandoned filmmaking, though Jackie Raynal made a few more films and Patrick Deval worked for French TV. Only Philippe Garrel — the group’s nominal leader — achieved notable fame as an arthouse director.