Jon Jost

Primaries/ A Turning Point in Lunatic China/ 1,2,3, Four (1971) 16mm, color, 35 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: political/social activism

A single reel featuring three short works.

"PRIMARIES is a simple film which merely establishes a definition of 'politics'. Its narrative moves in paragraph blocks, with each sentence accompanied by different pictures of a young woman's hands, feet, torso, face… Moving from [this definition]--an all encompassing: To Live Is To Be Political--A TURNING POINT IN LUNATIC CHINA provides a critique of the methods of communication employed by my fellow Leftists. The ritualistic posturing and sloganeering I had used myself and seen in action in Chicago and San Francisco State, the seizing of exotic foreign figures (Mao, Che) and ideological rhetoric (SDS debates on Stalinism)--all struck me as mistaken and useless. Working inversely to the Movement's failure to communicate either to itself or to the public, such devices seemed more a series of theatrical mechanisms for convincing one's self than for converting others... [TURNING POINT] initiates a conscious probing of the means and techniques of mass communication, particularly film. 1, 2, 3, FOUR... delivers a critique from within of the... ideologies... of the 'counter-culture'... [It] provides no answers, but rather it allows the internal dynamics of the 'left' generate its own questions. It ends with the classic leftist inquiry: 'What Is To Be Done?'. Threading between the needs of its audience for some form of 'entertainment' and narrative structure, and the formal requirements of carrying out such an ideological debate, [these shorts] represent for me... a distinct advance over [my] previous films, providing the beginnings, however flawed, of an opening through the curtain of bourgeois concepts and aesthetics." -Jon Jost, "Afterimage: Notes from Practice," Jump Cut 5 (1975): 4-7

Rental: $140
16mm Rental: $140

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