7.3/10
503
5 user 37 critic

Portrait of Jason (1967)

The highlights of a 12-hour interview with Aaron Payne, alias Jason Holliday, a former houseboy, would-be cabaret performer, and self-proclaimed hustler who, while drinking and smoking ... See full summary »

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Storyline

The highlights of a 12-hour interview with Aaron Payne, alias Jason Holliday, a former houseboy, would-be cabaret performer, and self-proclaimed hustler who, while drinking and smoking cigarettes and pot, giggles his way through stories and observations of what it was (and is) like to be black and gay in 1960s America. Written by <havan_ironoak@bigfoot.com> and <elfdorado@sbcglobal.net>

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29 September 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Portret Jasona  »

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Trivia

This film was previously thought to have been lost, until a 16 mm print of the film was discovered at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research in 2013 and has since been restored by the Academy Film Archive, Milestone Films and Modern Videofilm. See more »

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User Reviews

 
The cameraman got in the way of the story
4 December 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Another reviewer mentioned that this was the kind of film few people would watch until the end. I found it fascinating as this was probably one of the first surviving filmed attempts to capture true stories of gay life on screen, and not just gay life, but life as an African American gay man who was 42 when this film was made in 1966, pre Stonewall. Jason was drinking and smoking pot throughout, almost as though he had to get high to remember without being distraught. Yet he has a friendly smiling demeanor pretty much throughout. He mentions what a drag it was punching a 9 to 5 clock, but then it seems that only work as a servant was available to him, and then being a servant to rich people who presumed all black servants stole from them.

I really hated the camera-work on this one. The camera frequently puts Jason out of focus, and then sometimes the screen just faded to black WHILE Jason was talking to the point that I began to wonder if I was having trouble with my satellite reception. When it happened enough times I realize that somebody thought that all of this messing with the camera was actually accentuating Jason's story when I found it darn irritating.

Still I'd recommend it. Just realize you probably have to be in a particular mood to watch it, and be willing for the subject to get around to telling the more troubling episodes from his life as he seems to have to work up to being able to get that part of his life story out there.


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