Portrait of Jason

  • Film
Critics' choice
Portrait of Jason

Shirley Clarke's third feature is almost as straightforward as its title. It picks up the passionate interest in ghetto subcultures that Clarke established in The Connection and The Cool World, but this time without feeling any need to create a fiction: Portrait of Jason is simply a two-hour conversation with a middle-aged, black, homosexual prostitute. The new simplicity of approach reflects the enormous influence of Andy Warhol on independent film-making in the '60s: a new trust in basic film-making techniques, and a new distrust of 'artifice' like editing. Jason himself certainly provides enough artifice to keep any audience engrossed: his colourful, self-mocking account of his life reveals a great deal about the situation of a ghetto boy with 'white-boy fever'. The moral catch is that by fulfilling Jason's dreams of himself as a 'performer', the movie deliberately pushes him out of his own control...

Release details

Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Shirley Clarke
Cast: Jason Holliday Aaron Paine
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