One of the most active and least heralded of the Manhattan-based experimental filmmakers of the 1960s, director/writer Jim McBride won several awards for his first feature, David Holzman's Diary (1967). He didn't have to dig around much for story material: the film was all about an independent moviemaker's day-to-day existence. In most of his subsequent films, McBride acted as well as directed -- but neither outlet for his talents brought much food on the table. Compelled to teach school and drive cabs to survive for several years, McBride made a comeback as an actor in the 1979 Last Embrace, directed by another experimental filmmaker who graduated to the mainstream, Jonathan Demme. Back on his feet again, Jim McBride wielded the megaphone for such lucrative big-budget features as The Big Easy (1987) and Great Balls of Fire (1987) -- but not before one last stab at cinema verite with his 1983 remake of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless.