Attempting the summarize SPEAKING DIRECTLY, the first feature by the defiantly independent American auteur Jon Jost, is a bit of a feat. Like nearly all his subsequent films, it was produced on a pauper’s ransom, in this case a meager $2500 loan from Jost’s wealthy ex-lover. Yet, having been produced shortly after Jost’s release from prison for draft resistance, the culmination of two-plus years worth of ideas on cinema and society explode off the screen as though they were conceived in a pressure cooker. Its collage of kitsch Americana, socio-political essays, home movies, and interpersonal interviews opens itself to a myriad of interpretations. Self-described as a “State of the Nation address, from the perspective of someone other than the President”, it also serves as exploration into the complexities communication, an audit of one’s own existence, and can even be seen as a precursor to the sort of reporting by way of personal experience popularized today in outlets like NPR’s THIS AMERICAN LIFE. However you choose to read Jost’s impressive and complicated debut, one thing is for certain, as critic Jonathan Rosenbaum noted, you can think of no other film quite like it.
Preceded by Owen Land's NEW IMPROVED INSTITUTIONAL QUALITY: IN THE ENVIRONMENT OF LIQUIDS AND NASALS, A PARASITIC VOWEL SOMETIMES DEVELOPS (1976, USA, 16mm, 10min), in which a routine psychological test becomes, well…anything but routine.
This Light + Sound Machine Screening, co-hosted by Third Man Records and the Belcourt, will take place Thursday, September 19th at 7pm. Tickets are available for $10 online (or $8 via the Belcourt website for Belcourt members) and beginning at 6pm at will call the evening of the event.