The Walking Dead
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No consensus yet.
All Critics (22)
| Top Critics (8)
| Fresh (22)
| Rotten (0)
| DVD (3)
Like any star turn, Holliday's performance rings utterly true. It's that indefinable but unmistakable reality-beyond-reality called art.
This is a film way ahead of its time.
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.
A masterwork of grand-scale intimacy ...
[Portrait of Jason] says more about race, class, and sexuality than just about any movie before or since.
Portrait of Jason is a curious and fascinating example of cinema verité, all the ramifications of which cannot be immediately known.
[PODCAST] Shirley Clarke's 1967 cinéma vérité masterpiece remains a scathing social and character study of race in America for the enigmatic quality of its unreliable subject, Jason Holliday (nee Aaron Payne, 1924-1998).
Born Aaron Payne, Jason Holiday gives the performance of any lifetime, and it is superb artifice.
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.
Jason's surnames have a Dickensian interpretive quality: The invented 'Holliday' testifies to his wish for a life of celebrity ease, while birth-name 'Payne' seems appropriate to his stories of a rough Southern childhood and a stay in a 'nut house.'
A reminder that character is the heart of drama, even in a documentary made on a shoestring.
Jason's simultaneously funny and tragic, and almost heroic in the way he keeps eluding director Shirley Clarke's efforts to pin him down.
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.
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