Richard Avedon Film Series: Program 2

Related Exhibition Richard Avedon

Thursday, July 9, 2009, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 11, 2009, 3:00 p.m.

Phyllis Wattis Theater

Behind Every Good Man — a short from Ursin, then a film student at the University of California, Los Angeles — documents a gay African American man and his meditations on love, queer life in the 1960s, and gender transgression. The film and its subject eschew period cliches about homosexuality and point to possibilities beyond disaster, despair, and tragedy.

Experimental filmmaker Clarke culled her Portrait of Jason from a grueling, 12-hour interview with her subject, Jason Holliday. A complicated examination of cinema verité conventions, the spectacle of the interviewed subject, and the seeming exoticism (for a mostly white, avant-garde audience) of a gay, African American performer and sometime hustler, the film is Holliday's. His difficult performance of self against the filmmaker's goading and unflinching gaze remains, in the end, his own.

Additional Info

Behind Every Good Man
Nikolai Ursin, 1965, 8 min., 16mm

Portrait of Jason
Shirley Clarke, 1967, 100 min., 35mm

Image: Shirley Clarke, Portrait of Jason (still), 1967.  Released through Film Makers Distribution Center.  Photo courtesy Anthology Film Archives.

SFMOMA thanks Alex Cherian, San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive film archivist, for his assistance and support of this program.