David Holzman’s Diary (1968): Jim McBride’s Impressive Directing Debut Starring Kit Carson

A poignantly funny and impressive feature directorial debut, Jim McBride’s “David Holzman’s Diary” concerns a serious young filmmaker who seeks truth, knowledge, and self-awareness by making a movie about his own life.

Needless to say, few things go as planned and anticipated, which makes David all the more desperate and confused. In the process, his girlfriend leaves him and his artist friend Pepe (Lorenzo Mans) argues that David’s whole concept and goal are invalid.

Improvisational filmmaker McBride uses the “cinema verite” genre to poke fun at it. L.M. “Kit” Carson is well cast as Holzman, a passionate, obsessive man, who tries to put all of his life experiences on celluloid. His insistence upon poking his camera results in irritation, alienation, and quite a few physical fights.

This experimental film was made on a very low budget (less than $3,000) and took only five days to shoot. In this “auteurist” statement, Jim McBride produced, directed, wrote, and edited.

“David Holzman’s Diary” won awards at the Mannheim and Pesaro Film Festival awards. Over the years, it has become a classic, shown in university classes and film classes as an example of an indie that’s a “fake documentary,” and the impossibility of achieving complete objectivity on screen.

Later in his career, McBride made some good commercial films, such as “The Big Easy” (1987) and “Great Balls of Fire” (1989).


L.M. Kit Carson…. David Holzman
Eileen Dietz…. Penny Wohl
Lorenzo Mans…. Pepe
Louise Levine…. Sandra
Fern McBride…. Girl on the subway
Michel Lévine (II)…. Sandra’s Boy Friend
Bob Lesser…. Max, Penny’s agent
Jack Baran…. Cop


Running time: 74
Black and White

Cinematography: Eliot Elisofon

Film Editing: Robert Gardner and Jestrup Lincoln
Released: January 1, 1967.
DVD: January 30, 1996