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Portrait of Jason1967

  • 4.2
On the night of December 2, 1966, Shirley Clarke and a tiny crew convened in her apartment at the Hotel Chelsea to make a film. There, for twelve straight hours they filmed the one-and-only Jason Holliday as he spun tales, sang, donned costumes and reminisced about good times and bad behavior as a gay hustler, sometime houseboy and aspiring cabaret performer. The result is a mesmerizing portrait of a remarkable, charming and tortured man, who is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking. PORTRAIT OF JASON is a film that plays with complexities. While it was shot in a cinema vérité style, the film's subject is a man who readily admits to deceiving everyone and may be lying to the camera. Was Clarke giving Holliday a stage on which to perform in what he calls his "moment" or just using him? She worried about that herself. As Holliday notes about the ironies of life as a houseboy, "it gets to be joke sometime as to who's using who." Later, Clarke would say, "The result, I'm convinced, is a portrait of a guy who is both a genius and a bore. Although Jason says he really hasn't had any fun as a 'hustler' conning people, he appears to have had the last laugh." Any way you look at the film, it remains one of the most fascinating documentaries in cinema.

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6 members like this review

Searing portrait of Jason nee Aaron. This film hits me differently each time I have the chance to see it. Tragic, hilarious, heroic, sociopathic, manipulative, marvelous man who seems to have bluffed his way through the bad hand dealt him. A character study of the highest caliber.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (5)

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top reviewer

Searing portrait of Jason nee Aaron. This film hits me differently each time I have the chance to see it. Tragic, hilarious, heroic, sociopathic, manipulative, marvelous man who seems to have bluffed his way through the bad hand dealt him. A character study of the highest caliber.

6 members like this review

Spellboundingly tragic! Jason is at times as gruesome as an automobile crash yet I couldn't pull my eyes away from its gory spectacle. Watching this sad sad man captured during a space in time nearly fifty years ago made me wonder what ultimately became of him. The film feels spontaneous enough that it drew me right into the room with Jason and the film crew. I've waiting years to find this masterpiece. Think I'll watch it again!

2 members like this review
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filmmaker

Mesmerizing

1 member likes this review

Listening to any of my friends talk about themselves is far more interesting than this con artist. I've spent most of my life in the Bay area, and there are a great many more interesting queens than Jason. Cinematically, it is very amateurish with no technique.

1 member likes this review

A viewing of this fascinating feature truly bares repeating. There is so many layers going on here and almost every other statement is a loaded one, it's worth it to have another look. I am eternally grateful, for Jason Holliday, for all the pioneering fairy godmothers who brought about the freedoms that allow us to share our unabridged truth's with the world today. I recognize the suffering therein, trauma and post-traumatic-stress change people, it's a hard row to hoe (metaphorically and figuratively). I'd be incline to forgive the petty lies and harmless, happiness-inducing, manipulations of on honest man any day of the week. Bless you, beautiful Jason, for your bountiful character and your dead pan timings and undeniable wit. Bless you most for your infectious smile, and mind you don't go tucking your lips in either, lol!