David Holzman's Diary (1967) Script

Test .. test .. test ..


This is .. this is the story ..

This is a very important ..

This is a fairy tale .. this is a uh ..

This .. please pay attention.

You've had uh .. you've had your chance.

You've had your chance lad.

No time .. to stop your labor. Stop your labor in vain.

Bring your life into focus .. that's right.

And uh .. expose yourself.

Expose yourself .. to yourself.

This fucking self.


This is uh .. okay.

This is July 14th 1967.

This is serious .. this is ..

Serious ..

Last week .. I lost my job.

That's too bad .. it was not such a great job, but it was the only job I had.

This morning, however, I got a reclassification from the draft board.


Perfectly American.

So now I'm going to do something that ..

Has been on my mind for a long time.

Objects .. people .. events.

Seem to .. speak to me.

They seem to carry some meaning.

That I can't quite get.

My life ..

My life .. my life.

Though .. ordinary enough.

Seems to haunt me .. in uncommon ways.

It seems to come to me ..

From somewhere else. Somewhere ..

And I've been trying to ..

Understand it .. but it seems ..

That I can't get it.

So, uh ..

The uh ..

Noted French wit .. Jean-Luc Godard.

Said ..

"What is film? Film is truth 24 times a second."

So I thought that if ..

If I put it all down on film.

And I run it back and forth.

If I put my thumb on it .. and I stop it when I want to.

Then I got everything. I got it all.

I should get it all.

I should get it all. I should get the meaning, I should understand it.

So this is what this is going to be.

This is .. this .. I'm going to make a diary.

Like the famous Lulu's diary.

Uh .. my diary.

My diary.

This is my land. This is where I live.

The Upper West Side of .. New York.

West Seventy-First Street.

This is the famous Kent Hotel.

William Randolph Hearst.

The famous Red House which he built for Marion Davies.

This is the famous Ansonia Hotel where ..

Capone and the boys used to have a hot time in New York.

This is The Dakota, where Bogart and Zachary Scott once fled.

This is my apartment.

Mr Weiskopf the tailor.


I'd like you to meet my friend, my eyes, my camera.

Eclair NPR. Noiseless Portable Reflex Camera.

She weighs about 18 pounds.

I carry her on my shoulder or under my arm, wherever I go.

This is .. the Angenieux 9.5 to 95 lens, through which Eclair ..

Takes a picture of everything 24 times every second.

And this is Nagra .. my tape recorder.

And this is a .. Lavalier mike, which I use for recording inside.

When I go out on my adventures, I tie all of my friends on to me.

This is how we look .. this is walkabout.

Seeing and hearing .. getting it all down.

Saturday July 15th 1967.

This is Penny.

This is Penny. See it.

That's Penny .. that's Penny.

That's Penny, that's .. all those.

That's Penny.

She's my girlfriend.

She's a model. She does commercials occasionally.

She stays here sometimes when she can. We don't live together.

She says she can .. stay when she can make it.

I love here .. I love Penny.

We have a good time.

We also have, of course, the famous bad times.

But .. I love her.

She's vain ..

She's uh ..

That's not good.

But .. let me explain.

Sundays, when Penny stays here after .. Saturday night.

She cooks breakfast for me.

And one thing I demand on Sundays is Bialys.

So she gets them for me. I stay in bed, she gets up.

She goes down to the corner and gets the Bialys.

Now when she leaves, I get up and I go to the window .. and I watch her.

And .. and I watch and I wait. I know she's going to do this every Sunday.

I know she's going to do this. I watch for her to get to this corner over here.

And I know exactly what she's going to do.

She stays on that corner, she stands there and she takes one step off.

Onto the .. grate.

And every Sunday, I watch and I wait .. to see her do that.

And .. she does that and then she comes straight across the street.

That is touching to me.

It touches me .. to see her do that. To see her coming right across the street.

I guess .. I do love her.

She's .. she's also dirty. She's sloppy ..

For instance ..

This picture here ..

She looks pretty nice .. but if you looked closer, and closer.

And look right there .. under her chin.

You would see .. surprise .. you would see .. a little ring of dirt.

It looks cute.

Penny's dirt.

So ..

She's coming on later on tonight, and you'll see her then, for real, okay.


Look at me. Come on.


Come in here. I want you to do something for me.

Okay, go over to the white table and grab that camera over there.

Take a picture of me. Into the button.

Thank you.

David. ─ Yes, Miss.

David, put it away. ─ Ignore it.

Ignore the camera Penny .. forget it.

David, I'm not dressed.

Penny .. ???? .. all night.


If you don't put that thing away, I'm leaving.

This is West Seventy-First street. 8:30. Life goes on.

That is apartment 5 E in the building across from .. where I am shooting.

So one floor above from where I am shooting.

It's very ordinary, it belongs to that girl who just came in and turned on the TV set.

A very ordinary girl.

It's 8:30. She's probably just turned on "The Life Of Emile Zola" with Paul Muni.

Every Sunday she washes her hair and watches whatever show happens to be on TV.

She moved in there about ..

That's the thing about her. She's not just .. ordinary. Not only ordinary ..

The fact that her .. the way she throws her hair back like that.

The fact that it's long. Something ..

Now, she's changing the set now. She's probably watching ..

There is something a little more .. other than .. ordinary about the girl.

And more a little .. a little more aware .. a little more sensual.

It's the same thing but there's matchstick bamboo curtains in the window.

I watched them put those up. That's when I first started watching.

By then, I mean her boyfriend and her ..

She has a boyfriend, he's sort of Italian looking.

And drives a Volkswagen station wagon with a hole in the top.

The uh ..

Well ..

You see, the thing is in these ordinary windows they put these out-of-style ..

But .. chosen .. bamboo-stick blinds.

The name on her doorbell is ..

"S. Swartz". Which is a fit name for her because it answers to both sides of her.

"Swartz" being the name for her ordinary parts ..

And the "S" being the name for her more mysterious side.

I .. I call her Sandra.

Because she reminds me of Visconti's Sandra, being opaque like that.

This is Monday July 17th 1967.

Yesterday, I called Penny.

We had a long telephone conversation, and ..

We made up.

She was pretty upset about what happened the other night, but I ..

Promised not to ever do it again.

And that made her happy. I spent all day yesterday with her.

That's why there's no footage on Sunday.

I understand Penny's objections.

I .. don't .. like ..

I know the difference between this kind of shooting and ..

Fashion shooting. It's simple, but ..

I'm not asking her to do anything.

All I wanted is .. herself.

I don't quite get her sense of privacy.

She shoots eight hours a day sometimes.

And .. she's overjoyed. She's radiant with ..

All that bread, but ..

I don't see how I can shoot a picture of my life, without Penny being in it.

But I .. I let her be .. it's alright.

She's happy .. I'll do what she wants.

Okay ..

Okay? Well, Penny is ridiculous.

She's fright.

She behaves melodramatically.

She's just .. not credible.

I know you didn't set it up. I know she really got annoyed.

But, I don't know somehow, it's just .. it's not believable.


It looks like a very bad actress, and a very bad script ..

A horrible movie .. just horrible movie.

You know, I like her. It's alright.

You know, if you want to live in her bad movie, it's alright because ..

Some people's lives are good movies. Some people's lives are bad movies.

Penny's life's a very bad movie, but don't make me look at it on the screen please.

You know, if ..

The problem is that you want to make a movie out of your life. Alright.

So you want to be in it .. and you want Penny to be in it, and me to be in it.

In your apartment, my apartment.

But .. I'm an interesting character to watch.

But you're not an interesting character and Penny is certainly ..

Not an interesting character at all.

And uh ..

I don't know. If you want to make a good movie, just write a script.

I'm sure you can write a better script than that.

But this is not a good one.

Your life is not a very good script, but ..

Somehow I ..

I don't think that you want to make a good movie.

What you want to do is find things about your life.

Find out the truth.

There's something that happens, that you don't understand. You want to get ..

To the core of it.

Well David, I don't think you're going to find it this way because ..

If something happens and you don't understand it.

It puzzles you.

You're not going to understand it any better.

By freezing it on celluloid, and looking at it over and over again.

You know, what you have to do is try to understand it the first time.

And ..

I don't know.

But .. you don't understand the basic principle.

As soon as you start filming something ..

What happens in front of the camera .. is not reality any more.

It becomes part of something else.

It becomes "a movie".

And ..

You stop living, somehow.

And you get very self-conscious about anything you do.

Should I put my hand here? Should I put my hand here?

Should I place myself this side of the frame?

Should I place myself this side of the frame?

And your decisions stop being moral decisions and ..

They become hysterical decisions.

And your whole life .. stops being your life and becomes a work of art.

And .. a very bad work of art this time.

But ..

I don't know. It's just very foolish to think ..

That there's any spontaneity in what's happening in this movie, because ..

You say to me: "Look I'm going to show you the film I'm doing."

"And I want you to tell me what you think of it."

And then what do you do? You place me in front of the bureau. You make me ..

Move the table out of the way, so you could see it all.

And uh .. you knew exactly what I was going to say.

You didn't put words in my mouth.

You didn't tell me what to say but ..

You knew what I was going to say because you know me. And uh ..

I'm not going to say anything that .. will harm you.

I won't say any truth, because I don't know you.

I just saw a little bit of you.

And it's the same way with the film.

You want to put ..

A little bit of David .. the safe part of David, the David ..

That you wouldn't be afraid to show to anybody.

But .. there's this David that you don't want to be in the film.

And that David may be the truth.

And ..

That's what you should try to put in the film if you don't dare.

Face yourself other ways.

Confess things to the camera.

I do not say .. say the things that ..

That you are most ashamed of.

Things that .. you don't want to remember.

Things that you don't want anybody to know.

Maybe. Maybe that way, there will be some truth.

Or perhaps you take off all your clothes and stand in front of the camera for hours?

And .. and not do anything. Just stand in front of the camera.

Perhaps something magical will happen. Perhaps ..

Some truth will come out. I'm not sure.

But you know, one thing I'm pretty sure of ..

You know ..

The way you're handling this whole thing.

You are just getting half-truths.

You are not getting truths, you're just getting half-truths.

I think that's worse than a lie.

I really do.

Okay .. that's, that's all I have to say.

David, I don't want to play any games. Please turn it off.

This is four .. This is Tuesday morning, four thirty-eight.

About ..

Two minutes ago ..

Penny walked out of here.

I can see her walking out of the building now.

About twenty minutes ago, I got up.

And I was reading and then I went to the john.

And then when I came out, I didn't go right back to bed.

I stood in the hallway and I watched .. Penny sleep.

While I was watching her sleeping ..

It struck me ..

That what I was looking at, was like ..

One of those rooms .. one of those glass-enclosed rooms.

At the Smithsonian Institute.

It was like ..

Rooms .. in which ..

Everything is so perfect, that everything is so ..


That they have to be kept.

That uh ..

Because ..

This random .. particular ..

Accidental state.

So meaningful.

And so .. so touching.

It's so touching.

It's so beautiful.

Tuesday July 18th 1967.

Hello? ─ Hello Penny.

Hello. Hi.


David, you have the camera running?

Sandra .. Tuesday by day. I want you to watch the movement that she makes.

In his diaries, Truffaut writes about a movement that Debbie Reynolds makes.

In "Singing In The Rain". Now watch her hand. What's that?

Did you see that way she threw that dirt away?

Truffaut says that in Singing In The Rain, Debbie Reynolds jumps over a couch.

And holds in her skirt as she does it, and this movement gives her away.

And the movement that Sandra just made that I caught, has given her away.

A little bit more now .. more and more as she gives herself away.

To me.

What you looking for? Uranium?

You should put a rubber on there. You would be very busy.

What do wear? Jockey shorts?

How's your dick, honey?

What you do? Hide it or wrap it?

Want to get a look at these?

How's that?

Do you like that, baby?

That's the air pollution in the city .. 2.3% ???? today.

I guess I should explain this apparition.

Remember this picture that Penny took of me, with all my friends tied on?

Well .. well look in the back. There .. is .. this lady.

She started talking that day, and I didn't have any film in the camera.

I asked her if I ever see her again. She said sure, she's around here all the time.

So .. Tuesday .. there she was. I stopped her .. and ..

What followed, follows.

Listen baby, tell me your dimensions there .. How big are you?

I've forgotten. ─ You don't know how big you are?

So you think you got the family size, or a little more?

A little more. ─ A little more.

What's the circumference?

Why don't you talk to me about yourself first.

What's your problem?

Well, that's too bad, honey.

We need a big street.

I need a big dick, too!

Yeah, you too! You look the type.

You look like an idiot.

He looks like a lesbian, doesn't he?

Doesn't he look like a lesbian?

What are you thinking baby?

Well, we're doing a survey.

I think you're full of shit.

Do you? ─ Yeah.

That's not running, is it? You taking a survey?

Well, I'm a penis-ologist. I'm taking a survey also. It's a bone specialist.

You look very good with that cigar, baby.

It suits you.

I'd still like to know why you're here. Where you live? How come you're here?

I'm just out looking for a good lay. I need a good hump today.

Is this a dirty movie? You want to be a stunt man for a stag movie?

What was that broad doing up at your apartment? Getting laid?

You tell me first what you do for a living. ─ I do modelling. I'm a nude model.

What's this for?

Well, do you earn enough money to buy a car?

Yeah, I earn enough.

You can see me in the nude. I've got lovely happy valleys. You'll like them.

Listen now, what's this for? You want to get into it, dearie?

Make a star out of you. Fill those cheeks out a little.

Behind the camera, honey.

Now listen here .. You want to get laid?

Never mind .. do you want?


Listen, go and get that fuck. Go and get him.

Listen, you want to get laid or don't you?

I think I'd rather make films.

Make what? ─ Films.

Well, I don't know what they call that.

Pre-sexual? De-sexual? What do they call that?

A person that doesn't like both. Either. What do they call that?

A voyeur. ─ A what?

A voyeur. ─ Oh, you're a voyeur.

What's that? Something else?

You know, they've got some new skirts out you know.

They've got those pilot skirts. They go up to the cockpit.

They're beautiful.

Look at her .. look at her.

A sexy look she's giving me.

Behind your back.

Turn around, let me see your ass. You've got a nice body. Turn around.

Get yourself a pair of stockings.

How come you're so preoccupied with sex? ─ Fuck it honey, that's my main course.

What are you? Shitting?

What's that?

A cock or two never hurt anybody, and I like one a day.

I take it like I do a vitamin pill.

Huh? ─ What's for desert?

What do I have for desert?

That's too personal. I can't tell you that.

Why do you hang around with fags a lot? ─ Huh?

Why do you hang around with fags? ─ Because I know they can't hump you.

They don't like pussy.

Why do you hang out with men? I mean women ..

Because men won't hump you, right?

So therefore, you're better off with women.

[ very loud car horns ]

I do honey, but once in a while you have to get away from it.

I'm not a launching pad.

Everybody puts their mess on you and takes off.

And goes home. It's over with.

It's so big. I don't protest.

It is. ─ I like your philosophy.

You like my philosophy? You'd like my body if you saw it, too.

How old are you? ─ How old do you think I am?

Look, I'm not playing games. How old are you?

Twenty-six. ─ Very nice.

You've got a good few humping years left. You've got a very hairy body I bet.

Unfortunately for her, the Street Goddess never got to find out ..

Whether I had a hairy body or not.

At about this point the tape ran out and ..

And .. it was .. there was a crowd of onlookers beginning to get too ..

Big .. and then it became too much of a hassle so I terminated the interview.

An evening. ─ Tuesday evening.

This is a record of an evening I spent watching television.

This is a record of every .. shot.

On every show .. that I watched.

It means .. what I wanted to do was show you everything.

I didn't want to film excerpts .. so I set the camera up in front of the set.

And every time the shot changed on the set, I clicked off a frame on the camera.

So, what you have in essence here .. very quickly ..

Is every image that passed through, and into my head that evening.

Wednesday .. July .. 19th .. 1967.

Hello .. Penny?

Look! Look at this space. Look at this wind. This is great. Look.

I just got it. Look at this space.

Look. Watch.

I want to do it now.

I'm going to go inside with it in the subway.

Watch when I come .. I'm going to come past this uh .. watch.

Did you see it? Watch, watch these people.

Look, look, look, look.

That's the end .. okay .. okay.


Hello, this is David Holzman. Are there any messages for me?

Just a minute.

Um, Mr Holzman .. ─ Yes?

Someone by the name of Penny left a message for you.

Okay .. ─ Um ..

Could you read it.

Yes, she said .. um, don't call her any more.

She doesn't want you to call her anymore and um ..

Hello? ─ Yes, go on.

She said .. Max will be .. Max is coming to your apartment to pick up her clothes.

Is that all? ─ That's it.

Good. Thank you.

And just to keep things straight. This is Thursday .. July 20th .. 1967.

And I'm sitting at home .. waiting .. for dear old Max.

Say .. you're incredible you know.

Fuck you!

That's penny's agent .. Max.

Call him "Dutch" .. Fuck yourself Dutch.

He's confessed .. he's been wanting to get in her pants .. for years.

Yeah ..

It's a big joke.

Let me tell you Dutch, it's a big joke.

A big uh .. disappointment.

She was, she is a .. pretender.

You know .. the nails and the uh ..

Because she slobbers and ..

And the uh .. gurgle in her throat. You know.

Then after she's finished, she wants to talk about it.

Margaret Rutherford.

Yeah well .. welcome Dutch. Welcome home.

Let me tell you something.

Since .. she's been gone .. It's been about .. three days.

Get back to the real stuff now.

You know.


I mean .. sex is sex .. you know ...

You want, you know .. between a man and a woman, it's sex.

It's never quite like what Norman Mailer writes.

But masturbation. You get to .. get the, you get ..

You get your contemplation .. This generation sadly lacks so ..

Contemplation goes with masturbation.

See, I mean you got control .. between the thumb and the four daughters.

You've got thoughts. You can think of anything. Think of .. pigs.

Trains going into tunnels .. Bagels.

I mean, you're not limited to women.

I mean, when you do come back from thinking about women now ..

Ah ..

Now you should see .. Dutch oh Dutch ..

Come back to the true way Dutch.

Think about .. you should see some of the women that think about Dutch.

[ telephone dialling ]

[ telephone dialling ]

[ telephone ringing ]

Hello. ─ Sandra?

Who? ─ Sharon? Sarah?

I think you're calling the wrong number. What number do you want? .. Hello .. oh.

This is Friday July 21st 1967.

I got nothing to report.

It's Friday.

I don't know what you're waiting for.

I've got nothing to say.

Unless you want to talk about Vincente Minnelli.

This is not coming out the way I thought it would.

Um ..

You see, I thought this would be a film.

I thought this would be a film about things.

About ..

The mystery ..

Of things.

I thought that ..

That I'd get this stuff on ..

Celluloid, and I could . . you know .. I could ..

I could control it .. I could ..

I could run it back and forth. I could ..

I could .. rearrange it.

Until I could see ..

What it meant .. my life.

On film.

I could ..

I could understand, I could see what was going on. The ongoing thing was ..

I could make the connections and I could see what it was supposed to do.

It's not ..

That's not what happened!


You don't tell me the right things. You don't ..

Show me the right things. You don't ..

Show me anything that means anything.

That means anything.

Why not?

What do you want? What do you want?

I have ..

You have .. you have made me do things.

You haven't ..

Told me anything .. You have ..

I have ..

Uh ..

This is ridiculous .. what am I sitting here talking to you?

To two machines.

You have made me do things. Why, why, I don't .. why?

What is it? What do you want? What do you want?

You have made me .. you have made me do things.

Those things.

I wouldn't have done those things.

What do you want?

What the fuck do you want?

Why, why doesn't this help me? Why DOESN'T IT HELP ME?


I'm sorry.

Eclair, I'm sorry.


I'm sorry.

Twenty-four times a second .. Truth.

This is .. this is true.

That's true.

It's ..

It's got to be true .. it is .. it's true.

It's a deal .. I made this deal.

It's a deal.

There is no reason not ..

This deal is a reason. This deal is a reason.

That's the reason.

This is .. Penny's house. There's Penny.

And this is the way .. I ended my .. shooting adventures.

On Friday evening.

I was .. halted ..

By this man.

Watch .. watch him. He's going to hit me now.

He's going to hit me .. now.

He ..

Forced me to go upstairs with him to Penny's ..


To tell her what I'd been doing.

He wanted her .. to press charges.

Penny ..

Said .. "forget it".

So that .. he ..

Went away .. and then.

I went away.

This is Saturday .. July 22nd.

There won't be any .. film shot today.

Because I had to go to a funeral in New Jersey.

An uncle died.

I didn't have anything .. I didn't know him.

I don't have anything to say about him.

Get to the funeral.

This is Saturday 22nd of July.

I am at a Do-A-Disk recording booth at the corner of 52nd and Broadway.

Making this record for fifty cents.

As soon as I've finished, I'm going to go ..

Over to one of those 25-cent photographing stalls.

And take some pictures of myself with my Do-A-Disk.

What's happened is that .. about 45 minutes ago, I got back from the funeral.

In New Jersey and ..

The apartment was broken in to.

Everything that you could ..

Walk away with and hock in there, was taken. Everything.

The .. camera .. the still camera.

The .. movie camera .. the Eclair.

The Nagra, my Japanese tape recorder. The television set.

What I came down here to say was that .. this must be the end of the film.

I mean, this is the end of the film. It's finished.

If this is finished, it's ..

I wish I could have learned something. I wish I could have ..

Figured some other way she could have come out.

I ..

Like uh ..

Like .. like Bartleby The Scrivener.

Like your famous Bartleby, we'd have pref ..

I would have preferred not to have done this .. but I did it.