Release of the Film, 'Sympathy for the Devil' (Originally Titled One Plus One)
Composing the movie's main narrative thread are several long, uninterrupted shots of The Rolling Stones in a sound studio, recording and rerecording various parts to "Sympathy for the Devil." The dissolution of Stone Brian Jones is vividly portrayed, and the chaos of 1968 is made clear when a line referring to the killing of John F. Kennedy is heard changed to the plural after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in June.
Interwoven through the movie are outdoor shots of actors posing as Black Panthers milling about in a junkyard littered with the rusting cars heaped upon each other. They read from revolutionary texts (including Amiri Baraka) and toss their rifles to each other, from man to man, as if in an assembly line, readying for an impending battle.
The rest of the film contains a political message in the form of a voiceover about Marxism, the need for revolution and other topics in which Godard was interested. One scene involves a camera crew following a woman about, played by Anne Wiazemsky, in an outdoor wildlife setting. She's dressed in a flowing white gown, but no matter what she is asked, she always answers "yes" or "no." As can be seen from the chapter heading to this scene, she is supposed to be a personification of democracy, a woman named Eve Democracy.
At least one quarter of the film is devoted to indoor shots of a bookstore that sells some diverse items like Marvel's Doctor Strange, DC's The Atom, and The Flash comic books and Marxist pamphlets for propaganda, but predominantly cheap pornography. Alternating with the shots of comic books, pinup magazines, and Marxist pamphlets, consumers casually enter the bookstore, approach a bookshelf, pick up books or magazines, exchange them for a sheet of paper, and then slap the faces of two Maoist hostages sitting patiently next to a book display. Toward the end of the scene, a small child is admitted for the purpose of buying a pamphlet and slapping the faces of the hostages. After exchanging their purchases and receiving their document, each customer raises his/her right arm in a Nazi salute, and leaves the store.
Mimicking the earlier scene of the camera crew following Eve Democracy is the last scene to the movie, where the camera crew mills about on the beach, and from afar, one man asks another, "what are they doing over there?" To which the other man answers, "I think they are shooting a movie." A large winch or crane is positioned on the beach, and a woman in white is laid down upon the end of the crane, and elevated on the platform until she is well above the beach. She doesn't rise up, she just remains motionless, half-hanging off the crane, one leg dangling.
Before the Rolling Stones became involved, Jean-Luc Godard’s film, intended by the director to be called One + One, started out initially as a film about abortion. But as part of the bid to lure the controversial director Jean-Luc Godard across to the UK to apply his unique perspective on the highly charged political events and issues of the day, the deal was sweetened by allowing him access to film the Stones during the ‘Beggar’s Banquet’ recording sessions of the song Sympathy For The Devil.