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The Notorious Jack Smith: No President And Selected Shorts


The Notorious Jack Smith: No President And Selected Shorts
Tue, June 19, 2012 7 PM
“The only true underground filmmaker.”—John Waters

Pioneering underground filmmaker and performance artist Jack Smith came into the world in Columbus in 1932, and we’re devoting three programs of Cinema 614 to his influential, and truly inimitable, work. Along with selected shorts, this final program features No President, which was originally titled The Kidnapping of Wendell Willkie by the Love Bandit. All films are being screened in new 16mm prints from the Film-Makers’ Cooperative in New York City. (98 mins., 16 mm)


No President (1967–70), 45 mins.
No President was Smith’s third feature film project (after Flaming Creatures and Normal Love). In this version, restored by filmmaker Jerry Tartaglia, the scenes alternate between elaborate tableaux shot at Smith’s Greene Street loft and found footage of former presidential candidate Wendell Wilkie, a liberal Republican who ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The loose story climaxes with the apparent auctioning of the presidential candidate at the convention, and the film features numerous underground stars from 1968, including Tally Brown, Donna Kerness, Mario Montez, and Jerry Sims.

Respectable Creatures (1950–66), 24 mins.
This project is an unusual blending of Smith’s first known film, Buzzards Over Baghdad, with stray images from Normal Love and documentary footage that Smith shot in Rio de Janeiro slums in February 1966.

Overstimulated (1959–63), 5 mins.
This short film, restored in 1995, stars Jerry Sims and the late filmmaker Bob Fleischner and is an early filmic exploration of the “aesthetic of delirium” that Smith developed in his later films.

Song for Rent (1969), 4 mins.
Smith appears as Rose Courtyard, a red-wigged, plastic-jawed alter ego seated in a wheelchair amid the detritus of Smith’s Greene Street loft. As Kate Smith sings “God Bless America,” Rose, dressed in a red satin gown and clutching a bouquet of dead roses, is moved to stand up and salute.

Jungle Island (1967), 20 mins
Aka Reefers of Technicolor Island. A study of textures and full of exquisite superimpositions, Jungle Island was created to be a backdrop for Smith’s live performances. Staring Mario Montez as a south sea siren.
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