Rummaging through old books recently I found a copy of the 1990 Experimenta Film Festival Catalogue (Melbourne). That year, six Lettrist films were shown, introduced by French filmmaker and writer Christian Lebrat. I was excited to see that some of the films were, at least in their original manifestations, "expanded" in nature (projections onto balloons, turning the entire screening into a participatory performance etc).
Maurice Lemaitre's film entitled Has the Film Already Started?, (Le film est déjà commencé?) for instance, involves locking the audience out of the cinema for an hour during which they are subjected to abuse and shown a different film altogether.
My favourite bit from Lebrat's catalogue essay about the event is this:
Lemaitre remarked to me in 1985 that “this film sought to be a kind of general butchering of the cinema.” He also wanted to make the spectators participate during the screening. Originally, at the premiere in Paris on December 7, 1951, the screening was completely disturbed: drapery covered the usual screen, actor-spectators in the theatre conversed with the screen, people went onto the stage. There were diversions at the entrance, diversions on the pavement outside, and so forth. Near the end of the film the manager of the theatre announced to the public that he had to stop the film because the projectionist couldn't find the last reel. Lemaitre's screenplay even included the intervention of the police at the end of the performance – and they actually arrived.
The screenplay begins: “A pink moving screen will stand at the entrance to the theatre, in the night. One hour before the screening a projectionist will show Griffith's “Intolerance” on this screen. The start of the film will be announced at 8.30 but no one will enter before 9.30. During these 60 minutes of waiting, people on the first floor of the building will shake out very dusty carpets, and someone else will throw ice water on the heads of those spectators waiting for the screening. Some actors who have infiltrated the crowd will insult other actors on the first floor. At this moment only, and to stop the beginning of a scandal, the doors of the theatre will open…”
I have a longer extract from Lebrat's essay transcribed here.