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Portrait of Jason (1967)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

83

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 289

My Rating

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

Unrated,

Documentary, Special Interest

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All Critics (14) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (0) | DVD (1)

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

September 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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This is a film way ahead of its time.

August 15, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Whether Jason is laughing or crying, he holds you rapt with tales that conceal as much as they reveal.

May 2, 2013 Full Review Source: NPR
NPR
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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.

April 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
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A masterwork of grand-scale intimacy ...

April 15, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
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[Portrait of Jason] says more about race, class, and sexuality than just about any movie before or since.

March 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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Melancholy joie de vivre permeates every instant in the film, made to look as ragged as possible yet elegant in its simple, loving directness: look at him.

April 8, 2014 Full Review Source: Newcity
Newcity

A mesmerizing journey into experimental filmmaking.

April 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Shirley Clarke counters Jason's queen-bitch attitude by reminding us with vocal and technological interjections that this is a performance, and that aesthetic judgments have been made while recording it.

April 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

By the end of the long night's shoot, Clarke knew she had captured one of the most involving, uncompromising and revelatory human documents in the history of cinema.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

A riveting portrait of a black male prostitute from the bold, gifted director Shirley Clarke

July 24, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

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.
April 24, 2013
Harlequin68
Walter M.

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