Release Date: April 11th, 2007 (Film Forum) by Tongue Press.
Directed by Mary Jordan.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Jack Smith, an underground filmmaker, actor photographer, and performance artist who died of AIDS in 1989.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This mildly compelling documentary has plenty of footage of Jack Smith’s art which include photographs, performance art, and films. He only managed to complete one film in his life, Flaming Creatures which basically consists of many shots of male and female nudity with a fast pace that made it seem like an orgy. Not surprisingly, it was banned in some states. Smith clearly made an impression on critics and even filmmakers around his time, such as John Waters, Federico Fellini, Jim Jarmusch and even Andy Warhol. After Flaming Creatures, his other works remained incomplete and weren’t shown to the public—he even did a live performance art piece all night even though nobody showed up. Jordan establishes him as somebody rather stubborn who lost contact with many of his friends. He was inspired by watching B-movie actress Maria Montez from the 1940’s and early 50’s. As interesting and provocative as Smith’s work seems, it would have been more interesting if director Mary Jordan had included more information about Smith’s background beyond his art. It’s not quite clear what precisely made him loose his mind in the later part of his life and even claim to purposefully get AIDS. Jordan would have benefited from more synthesis and interviewing art historians who would explain Smith’s importance in a much larger context which would highlight his significance within the art world as a whole.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Not enough background information , insight and synthesis.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3
IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly compelling, but not enough insight, background information and synthesis.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD
The "J" Menu