MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 8,565 this week

Portrait of Jason (1967)

7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 237 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 1 user | 20 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

Interview with Jason Holliday aka Aaron Payne, house boy, would be cabaret performer, and self proclaimed hustler giving one man's gin-soaked pill-popped, view of what it was like to be ... See full summary »

Director:

0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: August

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they recommend for August 2014.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 15 Dec 2010
 
a list of 8 titles
created 28 Sep 2012
 
a list of 806 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 1548 titles
created 5 months ago
 
a list of 337 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Portrait of Jason (1967)

Portrait of Jason (1967) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Portrait of Jason.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Story of a woman and her three lovers.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A director tries to film a group of junkies in Leach's room while they are waiting for Cowboy to bring their heroin connection.

Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: Warren Finnerty, Garry Goodrow, Jerome Raphael
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

This documentary was five years in the making, and revolves around 62-year-old Okuzaki Kenzo, a survivor of the battlefields of New Guinea in World War II who gained notoriety by ... See full summary »

Director: Kazuo Hara
Stars: Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi
Roger & Me (1989)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Director Michael Moore pursues GM CEO Roger Smith to confront him about the harm he did to Flint, Michigan with his massive downsizing.

Director: Michael Moore
Stars: Michael Moore, Roger B. Smith, Rhonda Britton
Documentary | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Real-life individuals discuss topics on society, happiness in the working class among others and with those testimonies the filmmakers create fictional moments based on their interviews. ... See full summary »

Directors: Edgar Morin, Jean Rouch
Stars: Angelo, Régis Debray, Jacques
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A small-time Jewish racketeer, just out of prison, finds himself in a quandary. Returning to his old neighborhood, he finds that the streets that he and his friends once controlled have now... See full summary »

Director: Michael Roemer
Stars: Martin Priest, Ben Lang, Maxine Woods
Slacker (1991)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Presents a day in the life in Austin, Texas among its social outcasts and misfits, predominantly the twenty-something set, using a series of linear vignettes. These characters, who in some ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In this classic exploration of marriage in conflict, Billy and Antoinette Edwards, their son Bogart and dog... See full synopsis »

Director: Allan King
Stars: Billy Edwards, Antoinette Edwards, Bogart Edwards
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the horrors of Harlem ghetto slum life filled with drugs, violence, human misery, and a ... See full summary »

Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: Rony Clanton, Carl Lee, Yolanda Rodríguez
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

"Strange Victory" is about racial bias in post World War II America. Folowing "Native Land" in Leo Hurwitz' filmography, it uses some of the same techniques: dramatized scenes interspersed ... See full summary »

Director: Leo Hurwitz
Stars: Alfred Drake, Muriel Smith, Gary Merrill
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: Ornette Coleman, Demon Marshall, Eugene Tatum
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Jason Holliday ...
Himself
Shirley Clarke ...
Interviewer (voice)
Carl Lee ...
Interviewer (voice)
Edit

Storyline

Interview with Jason Holliday aka Aaron Payne, house boy, would be cabaret performer, and self proclaimed hustler giving one man's gin-soaked pill-popped, view of what it was like to be coloured and gay in 1960's America. Written by <havan_ironoak@bigfoot.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 September 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Portret Jasona  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Unforgettable more than enjoyable
30 June 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Shirley Clarke admitted she made films for people who already understood her wavelength. While that cannot be used as an excuse, it does make Portrait of Jason a challenge. Will you dismiss it as the nauseous ramblings of an ageing black homosexual prostitute? Or might you even pronounce it, as revered Swedish director Ingmar Bergman did, "The most fascinating film I've ever seen"? There are films that you enjoy. And films that stick with you. Ones that make an impression even if it wasn't a pleasant one. This is maybe one of those. Jason, talking of his own life, couldn't have put it better. "It only hurts when you think of it. And if you're real you'll think of it a long, long time." The moral tightrope the filmmakers tread - pushing a man to the brink of despair - is mesmerising. The techniques, which also question the nature of documentary itself, leave many questions unanswered.

There is affectionate voyeurism that we have all maybe engaged in. When friends get drunk or do silly things. There's a saying, "God remembers us by our mistakes, not our perfections." But what of more uncomfortable revelations? Made unwillingly or willingly? Does the sanctimonious label of 'truth-telling' justify hurt? Does complicity? Today we are bombarded with Jerry Springer style TV 'confessions'. We are inured to 'reality shows'. In the late 60s, documentary film-making was enjoying new found freedoms in showing 'truth'. Portrait of Jason has rightly been described as a journey into a man's soul. But it mirrors the transformation of voyeurship with the advent of the video. "The very thing that was trying to be hidden is now the thing that is trying to be exposed," Clarke explained. Where the audience was the watcher, the filmmaker is now the watcher. In Portrait of Jason, putting something on film changes the dynamic intensity – what was boring in real life becomes fascinating once it is filmed and edited.

The film-making process of Portrait of Jason deliberately interacts with the subject. Not to manipulate truth, but to elicit a deeper truth. It has been called 'self-reflexive documentary.' The eponymous Jason introduces himself at length, but later contradicts himself, admitting his real name is Aaron Payne. The process has become part of the subject matter. What can be believed? Portrait of Jason is Warholian in its simplicity. A middle-aged black man talks on camera for an hour and three-quarters. But the bite is that although willing, he is obviously not only under the influence of drink and drugs: he is tired and repeatedly gets up to go home. That it has been edited down from twelve hours of footage is testimony to the reality of the camera's lengthy cross-examination.

Jason Holliday is a remarkable individual. And also a nobody. For him, this film is an opportunity to be immortalised. "It is a nice feeling," he explains. Something he will always have and treasure.

At the beginning, Jason revels in self-caricature. The fact that he is a drug-user and a prostitute. "I'm a stoned whore!" he boasts with camp exuberance. We learn he grew up with an overbearing father – which he describes with the wit of a stand-up comedian. He makes amusing stories out of his road to homosexuality. He always wanted to be a stage performer and delights in showing us his material, donning a hat to do an impression of Mae West.

But the 'evening' wears on. Jason's ability to project his misery as something we can laugh at wears thin. He is tired. But he still rises to the call for 'material'. This, together with the questioning, connects to his desperate side. He wants to show us he is proud of his life. We are drawn in but at the same time maybe not wanting to know. "How did you get the 75 cents for the bed?" When Jason breaks down and cries we know we have hit rock bottom. Documentary 'truth' by a process of wearing down. But is it fair to do this to any human being? I leave the auditorium with a bad taste in my mouth. But days later I realise the film has made a deeper impression on me than many I have seen. The insights into racism in the U.S. ("The great problem of our time," as Shirley Clarke called it) are humbling. Certain phrases stick in my mind. "Are you lonely?" they asked him. "I'm desperate," he replies, "but I'm cool!" And in spite of the hell he has been through he says he is, "Happy about the whole thing," when asked about the filming. It was maybe not the immortalisation he expected. But Jason Holliday will certainly never be forgotten. I start to think that Clarke did him a kindness. Then I read how, in a 1983 interview, she had admitted, "I started out that evening with hatred, and there was a part of me that was out to do him in, get back at him, kill him." Did my previous judgement hold true? Even if her motives were not as clean as I had given her credit for? It seems to me that Clarke maybe uses Holliday as a means to an end, even if that end is breaking new ground in film-making. Films such as Capturing the Friedmans, many years later, although made with the family's consent, would expose their subjects to a scrutiny that was not always favourable. Yet elements of the moral uneasiness of that much later documentary are apparent in Portrait of Jason. In Freidmans, we justify intrusion because of willingness and the possibility that serious harm has been committed. But Jason doesn't stand accused. Then again, it is one of the earliest films to look at a gay protagonist in an open and (arguably) sympathetic manner. It may be that the benefits outweigh any harm. He forever tells us, "I'll never tell." But evidently needs little encouragement to do so.


16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What happened ? tectorgripengren-1
Re-Release Ethaniel85
Discuss Portrait of Jason (1967) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?