PORTRAIT OF JASON

Showings

Scene 1 Wed, Mar 14 6:00 PM
Event Info
Dialogue:P. Sam Kessie, Raia Lichen, Shereena Honary
Series Info
Series:Women's March
Film Info
Rating:Not Rated
Runtime:105 minutes
Director:Shirley Clarke
Year Released:1967
Production Country:USA
Language:English

Description

Iowa theatrical premiere, fifty years after original release!
Scree
ning followed by moderated discussion with filmmaker and UI graduate student P. Sam Kessie, Writer/Activist Raia Lichen and Middle East Studies researcher Shereena Honary.

“Jason reaches brilliant moments in a total run-down of his soul history, an all-night monologue breaking the barrier between private humor and public discourse, covering inside history of gay Negro boyhood, urban hip scenes as a houseboy scoring for human kicks, high camp spade queens on street corners, lower echelon nightclub comic universe, underground love concessions - all done in a language so down American, Jason emergess as a familiar archetype in the hip hotel rooms of decades."
- Allen Ginsberg

“The most extraordinary film I've seen in my life...it is absolutely fascinating." - Ingmar Bergman

“Clarke invests herself in Jason's tales as a meticulous yet passionate insider; it's as if she and he were involved in a mutual possession; Clarke unfolding her own psychic marginality and spontaneous artistry in his own dangerous self-disperal and recovering her own identity in his self-discovery - even as Holliday delivers himself, vulnerably and trustingly, to Clarke as the "material" he knows his life to be." - Richard Brody, The New Yorker

On the night of December 2, 1966, Shirley Clarke and a tiny crew convened in her apartment at the Hotel Chelsea to make a film. There, for twelve straight hours they filmed the one-and-only Jason Holliday as he spun tales, sang, donned costumes and reminisced about good times and bad behavior as a gay hustler, sometimes houseboy and aspiring caberet performer. The result is a mesmerizing portrait of a remarkable, charming and tortured man, who is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking.

Portrait of Jason is a film that plays with complexities. While it was shot in a verite style, the film's subject is a man who readily admits to deceiving everyong - and may be lying to the camera. On the film, Clarke said, "The result, I'm convinced, is a portrait of a guy who is both a genius and a bore. Although Jason says he really hasn't had any fun as a hustler conning people, he appears to have had the last laugh." Any way you look at the film, it remains one of the most facinating documentaries in cinema.

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