British filmmaker Dick Fontaine always had a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Norman Mailer once said of him: “He’d pop up at the most incredible moments with his crew. For instance, I’d be arrested at the Pentagon and thrown into a bus. There was Dick. I’d get out of jail. There was Dick.” Indeed, Fontaine captured Mailer’s 1967 arrest during an antiwar demonstration in front of the Pentagon, as well as his 1969 mayoral campaign (on the platform of New York City secession), and turned them into two companion films showing this Saturday as part of the career-spanning retrospective Minding the Gap: The Films of Dick Fontaine. The series opens tonight with episodes of World in Action that Fontaine produced for Granada TV, a British network where he got his start in 1962 choreographing lip-synched performances of such up-and-comers as Martha Reeves, the Vandellas and the Beatles. The three episodes showing tonight deal with the British Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and 24 hours in the life of the U.K.’s M6 highway.
Feb. 17-24, 2011