A landmark of non-fiction film, Shirley Clarke’s Portrait Of Jason (a film I first saw in a rare screening at in NYC 2 +years ago, from a not-so good print), was shot in Clarke’s apartment in the Chelsea Hotel during a 12-hour period, beginning on the evening of December 3, 1966.
The feature film was recently brought back to life (restored) by Milestone Films and the Academy Film Archive, in a multi-year campaign that included a late 2012 Kickstarter campaign that raised over $26,000.
And now the beautifully-restored print of the film that the late Ingmar Bergman called “the most fascinating I’ve ever seen,” will be released in theaters (in a limited release), starting this Friday, April 19, in New York at the IFC Center.
The film is, as the title suggests, a portrait of Jason Holliday (real name: Aaron Payne) – a flamboyant, charismatic cabaret performer.
Filmed over the course of one night at the Chelsea Hotel, in New York City, Holliday dishes on a myriad of topics: racism, homophobia, parental abuse, show business, drugs, sex, prostitution, the law, and much more. As the night progresses, he pretty much tells the story of his life, gets increasingly intoxicated, and thus raw with his revelations, eventually ending up in quite an intensely emotionally vulnerable state.
It’s a fascinating, must-see “confessional,” if you will.
Watch the newly-released trailer, courtesy of IFC and Milestone; new release poster is underneath: