Films A to Z
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