Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week

Posted By on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Page 5 of 6

Portrait of Jason Halliday Shirley Clarke
Portrait of Jason (1967)
Directed by Shirley Clarke
Clarke’s searing documentary portrait of black gay hustler and aspiring cabaret performer Jason Halliday remains one of the most fascinating and formally audacious films of the 60s. Culled from a grueling 12-hour interview at the filmmaker’s Chelsea Hotel apartment, the film is an unflinching probe into identity as performance, with Jason offering up variations of his “role.” Clarke fixes the camera on him throughout and is heard prodding off-screen, along with her then boyfriend, actor Carl Lee. As the alcohol-fueled interview becomes an interrogation, the film reveals its true subject—the power dynamics of race—and points to the long history of black identity as constructed by white directors. Paul Dallas (August 15-16 at BAM, part of its Cinema of the Civil Rights Movement)

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