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Portrait of Jason

105 min.
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”What I really want to do is what I am doing now: perform,” says Jason Holliday in”his” portrait. Jason – black, gay and a self-declared hustler – directs himself, follows directions, narrates, invents, confesses, makes claims and ultimately challenges the camera, the film team composed of Shirley Clarke and Carl Lee (with whom she also collaborated on The Connection and The Cool World) and us, the viewers, as far asour notions of identity and truth are concerned. Reviews of the film continually point out that it cannot be categorised, not as documentary or phantasmagory, as audition reel or feature length interview. Portrait of Jason is all of those things at once and yet something else too: an extravagant dialogue with a camera and an audience. Since its initial success and distribution through the Filmmakers Coop, it has only been available on VHS and, since 2006, on DVD too; in the latter case, with the added speculation that the film’s persistent unavailability through the years can only be understood as a material expression of its categorical ambiguity. Now Portrait of Jason has finally been restored: ”This is a picture I can save forever” (Jason Holliday).

BIOGRAFIE Shirley Clarke

Born on 2 October 1919 in New York. After studying dance, she studied film at the City College of New York. In 1961, she shot her first feature film THE CONNECTION, which was banned from being shown in the USA for many years. From the mid-70s, Shirley Clarke taught film and video at the university of California (UCLA). During the same period, she also experimented with live video performances, thus returning to her roots as a dancer. Shirley Clarke died in 1997 in Boston, Massachusetts.

FILMOGRAFIE Shirley Clarke (selection)

1984 Ornette: Made In America  1983 The Box   1982  Tongues   1981 Savage/Love   1978 One-2-3   1978 Trans   1967 Portrait Of Jason   1963 Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel With The World  1963 The Cool World   1961 The Connection  1960 The Skyscraper   1958 Bridges-Go-Round   1957 Brussels Loops   1956 A Moment In Love  1955 Bullfight   1954 In Paris Parks   1953 A Dance In The Sun  

Shirley Clarke @IMDb

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