Sunday, February 19, 2006

Tribute to Shirley Clark

Shirley Clarke's 1961 The Connection

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

A dancer/choreographer turned filmmaker, Shirley Clarke was one of the few women making any kind of film in the 1950s and ’60s. Her first feature, made after several avant-garde shorts and before her better-known The Cool World and Portrait of Jason, was restored last year by UCLA from original 35mm negatives. Based on Jack Gelber’s play about a group of junkies hanging out in a New York loft waiting for their fix, The Connection is part beat narrative, part interrogation of documentary form, part portrait of a subculture. Noted for Clarke’s innovative camera-choreography, it was banned for its obscenity but won the Critic’s Prize at Cannes. (Irina Leimbacher)