Best Movies by Farr

Portrait of Jason

Portrait of Jason Poster
Portrait of Jason Poster

Released

1967

Runtime

107

Portrait of Jason

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What's it About

Self-confessed druggie hustler and cabaret performer Jason Holliday spins tales of his difficult upbringing and wild ways over one alcohol-infused night in 1966.  As he delivers his monologue, providing colorful anecdotes about his days as a “houseboy” to rich, white women, or about his abusive father Brother Tough, our eyes are opened to the bleak world of a gay black man living in a pre-Stonewall America.

Director Clarke, who is heard off-camera but never seen, pushes the limits of objective observation in this unique, fascinating piece of performance art- or cinema vérité, depending on how you look at it. Is Jason (né Allan Payne) a fine actor or the real thing…or something in between? In this recently re-discovered documentary, Clarke skillfully provokes Jason with her questions, yielding a piercing, perceptive record of the gay community back then, and a groundbreaking piece of independent filmmaking. Once seen, never forgotten.


Why we love it

Director Clarke, who is heard off-camera but never seen, pushes the limits of objective observation in this unique, fascinating piece of performance art- or cinema vérité, depending on how you look at it. Is Jason (né Allan Payne) a fine actor or the real thing…or something in between? In this recently re-discovered documentary, Clarke skillfully provokes Jason with her questions, yielding a piercing, perceptive record of the gay community back then, and a groundbreaking piece of independent filmmaking. Once seen, never forgotten.