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  • Portrait Of Jason [DVD] [1967]
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Portrait Of Jason [DVD] [1967]

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Portrait of Jason is the raw record of a confessional conversation with an African-American gay hustler recounting his life and times. A disturbing and fascinating document, it unflinchingly observes Jason Holliday - conversing, performing, confessing, dissolving. Shirley Clarke was a key figure in the American avant-garde and has been an influence on filmmakers and video artists over the last 40 years. Available for the first time ever on DVD, Portrait of Jason is a counter-culture classic and a landmark in American independent cinema.


" The most fascinating film I’ve ever seen" -- Ingmar Bergman

" …a pioneering study of the cinema verite movement … It’s an intense, commanding film" -- Chicago Reader

"In part hilarious and in total compelling….." -- London Film Festival, Paul Taylor

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
What is the deal? 25 Aug. 2010
By J. Merritt - Published on
Format: DVD
When on earth is someone going to pay proper homage to the work of Shirley Clarke? Her documentaries are all but unavailable commercially in the United States, including this amazing 1967 one-on-one with a 'street hustler.' M Snively (below) has done an admirable job of describing the basic 'plot' and emotional impact of the film. My only addition to the discussion is: Please release this damn thing on a US-friendly DVD format! And soon. It is an amazing, engrossing, and personal portrait of a certain aspect of 1960's sociality, an entirely engaging and informative perspective on alternative lifestyle. LONG past due for an American DVD release. Someone please come along and do this film--and filmmaker--justice.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Portrait of no one! 9 Dec. 2009
By M. Snively - Published on
Format: DVD
Portrait of Jason is a documentary-esque film with only one character, Jason. The man is placed in front of a camera and is asked to tell stories about his life experiences. In a comfortable living room setting, Jason unravels his words in front of us, liquor shot after shot and acting so flamboyant we can't help but want to befriend him. But the "him" is the true weight of the plot as the "him" is undefinable. The film has no one in control, whereas usually a director claims this controlling role. As the film progresses, we start to not only see the characters inside of Jason, but that he is fooling us, so much that a viewer could begin to feel disgust towards this once-admired man. Who is in control now? Is it the actor Jason? The instigators off-camera, feeding him questions and requesting stories? Is it the viewer? The decline of Jason is so evident in this film that anyone can notice its tragedy. Whether we feel pity, anger, or happiness towards Jason, the film clearly depicts something too real and so personal that we often end up questioning our own motives and words. Although sometimes the film is slow, it is captivating and personal nevertheless, and a more than interesting look into the life of a self-defined "Queen" of the late 60s.
Worth viewing to get perspective on pre - Stonewall life of a BLK SGL New Yorker. 19 Nov. 2014
By Maxsonn Smith - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Some humor, but primarily a poignant personal reflection on one man's experiences of life of a same gender loving man years before the Stonewall revolt in New York.
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