Jack Smith

Jack Smith – Flaming Creatures (1963)

Part of the New American Cinema group in New York City during the 60s, Jack Smith’s flamboyant aesthetic can be characterized by a mix of baroque exoticism, gaudy costumes, and detritus salvaged from the city streets. Flaming Creatures is a non-narrative, Dionysian orgy, complete with wild dancing, gender bending, and a climactic earthquake. The carnivalesque madness of the film is reinforced by the chaotic density of its formal composition. Smith’s deliberate spatial disorientation creates a pansexual landscape of tangled body parts; just as the viewer is unable to situate the visual coordinates of the image, the creatures are unaware of which extremity belongs to whom. Read More »

Jack Smith – Normal Love [Full Cut] (1963)

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By 1965, Jack Smith was exhibiting versions of Normal Love, mixing his soundtracks live and often re-editing the film as it was being shown. After Smith’s death, Jerry Tartaglia prepared this restored 105-minute version, which premiered in 1997. Although shot on backdated color-film stock and paced more languidly than Flaming Creatures, Normal Love again features women and cross-dressed men in an idyll of sexual anarchy. Smith filmed almost entirely outdoors, emphasizing pinks and greens in the scenery, costumes, and props, and combining textural passages with allusions to film icons such as the Mummy and the Werewolf, Maria Montez, and Busby Berkeley. The inspired finale is set atop a massive pink cake (where the dancing Cake Cuties include Andy Warhol). Read More »

Jack Smith – Scotch Tape (1963)

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User Review

not sure why it’s titled this, but it’s a fanciful and exciting little trip
by Jack Gattanella

Jack Smith was one of the masters of the underground film-making ‘group’ in New York city in the early 60s, and this was one of the few films that Smith finished and screened. While nowhere near the notorious nature of Flaming Creatures or the color-grandeur of Normal Love, Scotch Tape is significant because in a 3-minute stretch of time Smith is able to convey a lot of energy and excitement over some footage that is hard to make out. It looks as those there are figures dancing among garbage or something, moving about, maybe even at 16 frames-per-second, and all done to a super catchy swing tune from the 30s. Read More »