Portrait of Jason (1967) Blu-Ray Project Shirley Volume Two
The film presents an intimate profile of Jason Holliday, nee Aaron Payne, a performance artist of sorts, a sometimes hustler and a very campy character who lived in New York's legendary Chelsea Hotel, where Shirley Clarke and many other artists resided or bedded down while visiting New York. The Chelsea was a hotbed of creativity and a bastion of alternative lifestyles.
The film, which was shot in Shirley Clarke's apartment, is basically a 101 minute long monologue in which Jason, a flamboyant African-American gay man, is prompted by questions posed by off screen interviewers -- Clarke and her partner, Carl Lee -- to reveal the story of his life, tell of his aspirations and describe the way in which he sees the world.
All the while, Jason is drinking liberal quantities of alcohol, smoking nonstop and getting looser and looser in his self expression. He's quite the captivating character and watching his prompted stream of consciousness is like sitting in on a one shot therapy session.
In addition to tossing questions and suggestions to Jason, Shirley Clarke calls for the reloading of the camera and makes other comments that keep you aware of the filmmaking process. The film's forward momentum is maintained by Clarke's brilliant editing that makes it seem that the footage is being presented exactly as it was shot, without any editing at all.


The Lost Confrontation (6:01): Clarke discusses a sequence she removed from the film in an audio interview set against still photographs. Audio from the deleted sequence follows, some of it accompanied by unsynchronized video.

Where's Shirley? (25.31): This is the video for the Kickstarter campaign that raised the fund to restore Portrait of Jason, but it's not just a matter of historical interest. As Dennis Doros and Amy Heller recount their painstaking search for the source materials for Clarke's film, they provide an incomparable education in the demanding and difficult task of being a film archivist.

Jason in Color! (2:12): A short home movie in color, with a soundtrack excerpt from Portrait of Jason.

Jason Unleashed (34:34): "Thanks to the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, the audio outtakes were saved for Portrait of Jason. Along with a couple stories that help explain some obscure references in the film, it also shows how Shirley Clarke planned parts of the film to be spontaneous in order to play with the rules of cinema verite."

Portrait of Jason Trailer (1:29): This trailer was created by Milestone for its restoration.

Jason Before and After (1:14): This revealing comparison demonstrates the improvement achieved as a result of Milestone's detective work in locating the 16mm fine-grain interpositive mistakenly labeled as "outtakes" at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. Side by side with the 35mm blow-up maintained at the Museum of Modern Art, the superiority of the 16mm source (which is several generations closer to the original camera negative) is obvious.

Butterfly (3:51): A short film made by Clarke and her daughter, Wendy, in 1967 to be shown at NYU's Loeb Student Center as part of a program of anti-war films.

Shirley Clarke in Underground New York (9:52): This documentary short records Clarke at home and on the streets of New York in 1967. She also welcomes Michelangelo Antonioni to a film festival. If you didn't know it was real, you might think it was a parody of the Sixties arthouse scene.

Audio-Only Extras:

Pacifica Radio Interview (52:45): This interview with Clarke occurred shortly after a screening of Portrait of Jason and provides extensive information about the making of the film, what she meant to convey by it and early reactions by critics (many of which were unfavorable).

Jason Holliday Comedy Album (49:13): This unreleased album was produced by a songwriter and record producer in 1967, probably after seeing Portrait of Jason.

BD50 | 1080p AVC | 01:47:36 | 42.3 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Genre: Documentary, Biography

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