Jon Jost began working with 16mm celluloid film shortly after he was expelled from college in the early 1960s. He collaborated with radical film groups and publicly opposed the US invasion of Viet Nam. His films explore American themes and objectively analyze social, political and artistic institutionalism.
Jost moved to Hollywood in the 1970s and created two films featuring Robert Gauldini, ANGEL CITY (1976) and CHAMELEON (1978). In the making of these films, Jost utilized noir conventions to criticize bourgeois culture, further alluding to social corruption at large. CHAMELEON takes on a more traditional narrative, reflecting upon the art world of that time. Gauldini deals forged art prints, which he acquired by manipulating a friend that owes him money. The selling of these prints hint at our society's capitalist use of art for financial gain and individual advancement. Jost obtains a sense of realism through dynamic sequence shots, as he weaves together different parts of Los Angeles and documents Gauldini's travels.
Jost was part of an essential group of Los Angeles art filmmakers in the last decades preceding the 21st century that developed stylized variations on the noir genre, and Hollywood cinema, in order to effectively combine social critique with Los Angeles' infamous landscape.
[Contributor: Ellie Parker]