Portrait of Jason


Dir. Shirley Clarke, 35mm B/W Sound 01:45:00

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A whimsical missive from a weathered soul, Portrait is simply that: a continuous unfolding monologue from dapper, effete '60s hustler Jason Holiday (real name: Aaron Payne,) who, with a kind face and supple voice, regales us with the compelling saga of his broken life, from houseboy to heretic, from militant youth to sassy gigolo. Whereas Warhol would've been content framing the more exploitative elements of Jason's tales in urban decay and poncy despair, here director Shirley Clarke has the good sense to sit him down in a sparse apartment and give this self-described 'stone whore' the greatest backdrop possible: his own fevered imagination. Rarely does his narrative veer into dryness: Jason first draws us in with his radiant smile, then later ratchets the intensity as he consumes enough booze to kill a small horse. A landmark in both queer and confessional cinema.
[Source: Filmforum program notes, 2/9/08]

Other Credits

Jason Holliday, Robert Fiore