The film screening will be followed by a Skype interview with film preservationist Dennis Doro
EUGENE, Ore. -- (November 6, 2012) – Schnitzer Cinema features the recently restored 1961 film “The Connection” on Wednesday, November 14, at 7:00 p.m., followed by a Skype dialogue with film preservationist Dennis Doros from Milestone Films. Admission is free and includes free popcorn and soda.
“The Connection,” the first feature film by Shirley Clarke, takes on a controversial play by Jack Gelber that was running off-Broadway, performed by the Living Theatre. It was a play within a play within a jazz concert. It portrayed a group of drug addicts, some of them jazz musicians, waiting in a New York loft apartment for their drug connection. A theater director and a writer, meanwhile, have entered their lives to study them and write a play about them. The brilliantly written Beat dialogue was blended with jazz music, written and performed by the great pianist and composer Freddie Redd.
In her film version of the play, Clarke made the observer a cinema verite filmmaker. To further the illusion of reality, the filmmakers intentionally left in artifacts of filmmaking — film rolls suddenly end in black leader; sound sync beeps are heard, and light flairs, dust, scratches and out-of-focus moments are preserved. This roughness led many critics to assume that the film was improvised. However, like the camera movement and the choreography of the actors, Clarke carefully planned everything in “The Connection.”
The film was highly controversial upon its release. While it won the International Critics Award at Cannes, its language and drug use got it censored by the New York Board of Regents, and banned from theaters. The ban was ultimately overturned by the New York State Supreme Court.
Shirley Clarke was a leader and major filmmaker in the New York film community in the 1950s and 1960s. Her films helped launch the American independent feature film movement, and are among its best creations. Originally a choreographer, Clarke studied filmmaking with Hans Richter at the City College of New York and participated in informal filmmaking classes with director and cinematographer Peter Glushanok. She filmed several short dance films , and then applied her choreographer's skills to the rhythmic editing of her semi-documentaries “Bridges Go Round” (1959) and the Academy Award-nominated “Skyscraper” (1959). After “The Connection,” her 1962 documentary “Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel,” won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Her next feature, “The Cool World,” explored life in Harlem and was followed by “Portrait of Jason,” in 1967, a two-hour interview with a black male prostitute. In the final years of her career, Clarke taught film courses at UCLA. Following a protracted illness Clarke died in Boston on September 23, 1997 at age 78.
“The Connection” is the first release in Milestone Films ambitious “Project Shirley.” Milestone has acquired the rights to four of Clarke's features and more than a dozen of her short films. The company is working with the archives to release restored versions of Clarke’s work, and “The Connection,” the first to be done, was preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding from The Film Foundation from the original 35mm acetate picture and soundtrack negatives and a 35 mm composite master positive.
“Art and Language” is the theme of the Fall 2012 Schnitzer Cinema series, complementing current exhibitions Lesley Dill’s “Poetic Visions: From Shimmer to Sister Gertrude Morgan” and “Good Grief! A Selection of Original Art from 50 Years of Charles M Schulz’s PEANUTS.” Schnitzer Cinema is brought to you in partnership with Cinema Pacific and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public. The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries. The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.
About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.
Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942, firstname.lastname@example.org
Link: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, http://jsma.uoregon.edu
Cinema Pacific, http://cinemapacific.uoregon.edu/