Portrait of Jason

Controversy again erupted over Shirley Clarke's Portrait of Jason, a feature-length, single-camera interview with a black male prostitute, which was labeled “repulsive” by conservative reviewers.

However, the film was appreciated in Europe where it won festival prizes–Ingmar Bergman called it “one of the most fascinating films I've ever seen.”

Unlike Deren, Clarke saw the limitations of experimental cinema and the limited scope of exploring female subjectivity and sexual desire. Instead, she displaced her sense of marginalization onto an urban cinema of alienation, centering on outcasts and misfits, as personified by African Americans, homosexuals, and drug addicts. Out of the antagonism between documentary and fictional narratives, Clarke activated a cinema of protest that went beyond the language of the feminized.

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