In 1968, African-American filmmaker William Greaves shot an abortive interracial drama whose crew staged a mutiny by filming their own secret gripe sessions, then prankishly sending said feedback to the helmer amid pic’s raw footage. Greaves eventually turned it all into the auto-analytical “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One,” which went unreleased until early-1990s museum/fest showings. “Take 2 1/2” reunites actors and crew 35 years later. But what was once a fourth-wall-breaking experiment now looks like insufferable artistic-process indulgence that only cinema academes and acting students will be able to stomach.
Original pic was intended as a dramatic snippet spotlighting conflict between fed-up black wife (Audrey Henningham) and a controlling white husband (Shannon Baker) suspected of bisexual affairs. “Sequel” has same thesps working through decades-later scenes that force their characters through a new set of late-life crises, once again acted out in Central Park. So far, OK, but Greaves & Co. insist on tortuous talking-through of each moment’s “truth” that feels like Method Acting excess. Arrival of “psychodramatist” Marcia Karp, goading principals into yea more hysterical “truths,” pushes pic toward self-parody. Tech aspects are raw but serviceable.