Portrait of Jason (1967) - Rotten Tomatoes

Portrait of Jason (1967)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Portrait of Jason is a disturbing but fascinating 90-minute exercise in the Avant Garde (earlier prints ran 105 minutes). Experimental filmmaker Shirley Clarke, produced, edited, directed and provided voiceover for this landmark film. Essentially, the picture consists of an interview with "Jason," a young black homosexual and male prostitute. Despite her kaleidoscope style, Clarke takes great pains not to editorialize: Jason is Jason, like it or not. While mainstream critics expressed nausea and disgust over Portrait of Jason, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman declared it to be "the most fascinating film I've ever seen." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Milestone Film & Video - Official Site

News & Interviews for Portrait of Jason

Critic Reviews for Portrait of Jason

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (10)

The larger truth is that Jason, who died in obscurity in 1998, and [Portrait of Jason] still have things to teach us about the nature of race, sex, and success in America.

Full Review… | September 30, 2015
Top Critic

Like any star turn, Holliday's performance rings utterly true. It's that indefinable but unmistakable reality-beyond-reality called art.

Full Review… | September 11, 2013
Boston Globe
Top Critic

This is a film way ahead of its time.

Full Review… | August 15, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Whether Jason is laughing or crying, he holds you rapt with tales that conceal as much as they reveal.

Full Review… | May 2, 2013
Top Critic

Serves as a sideways time capsule, creating a blurry snapshot of an Afro-camp subculture during the era of Christopher Street bar raids and burn-baby-burn rioting.

Full Review… | April 16, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

A masterwork of grand-scale intimacy ...

Full Review… | April 15, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Portrait of Jason

Every interview is a performance.

And you are very unlikely to see one as entertaining as the one in the case of Jason Holliday(ne Aron Payne), hustler and house boy extraordinaire, who is attempting to put his vast experiences together into a nightclub act, thus enlivening that particular American trait for reinvention. At the same time, the only name dropping he does concerns Miles Davis which considering what has been written by and about Davis, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he did know a few hustlers in his time. And even though Jason also covers some very serious material like his abusive father, he remains garrulous throughout, occasionally taking puffs on a joint.

Even when the video fails at one point, the filmmakers do their best to keep the audio going, in order to record as much of Jason's story as they can.(The boom mike also puts in an appearance.) Otherwise, scenes are marked by the imaqe fading in and out. That pattern continues until almost the end when the filmmakers begin to call out Jason about some of his stories.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

I went into this blind, which, in hindsight, was probably a mistake. Knowing nothing about the man or the film ahead of time made his one-man monologue a bit tedious. While technically an interview, all we really see are his reactions to questions. And those reactions are split in with his laugh, making it hard for me to follow.

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