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Little Stabs at Happiness (1960)

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5.0
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A film in four parts. In "In the Room", a man and a woman in outlandish garb are sitting in a claw-foot bathtub smoking, while the man abuses a doll in various ways. In "They Stopped to ... See full summary »

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Storyline

A film in four parts. In "In the Room", a man and a woman in outlandish garb are sitting in a claw-foot bathtub smoking, while the man abuses a doll in various ways. In "They Stopped to Think", the filmmaker focuses on a woman trying to position a stool upon which to sit next to a wall. The filmmaker, in voice over, talks about filming the scene, and his current relationship with the people shown in the film, who were his friends at the time of filming and who are now largely out of his life. The scene shifts to a pier where a man and woman are filmed, they playing to the camera. In "It Began to Drizzle", a man and woman are lounging in a street side outdoor patio. They have to decide what to do. The scene then shifts to a man and some children doing chalk drawings on the sidewalk, and how other respond to what they are doing. In "The Spirit of Listlessness (Jack Smith)", a man lounging on an urban rooftop is playing with balloons while he plays to the camera with other items around ... Written by Huggo

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User Reviews

Sometimes When the Wrappings Fall There's Nothing Underneath at All
3 November 2013 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Jean Cocteau once said that until film was as cheap as a pad of artist's paper, then it could not be art. In the late 1950s, the cost of hand-held cameras had dropped enough to make them affordable to a middle class willing to take home movies. So the chance arose for real artists to make films, not phony artists like those who made commercial films meant to be seen by Joe and Jane Q. Public.

On the now increasingly rare occasion when I go to a gallery and am asked if I appreciate what is on view, I do not express my opinion of how much of a poseur and a huckster the artist seems to be, but discuss technical issues or offer a brief "Not to my taste." When it is the latter, I often hear the haughty "Well, maybe it wasn't intended for you." Again, when I hear that I refrain from saying "Who was it intended for? Some one with a lot of money who can be flattered into thinking that he's a superior individual because he buys this stuff?"

As some one who has worked on being a writer for many years, I am aware that an audience must put in a lot of work, but it is the job of the artist to meet them at least halfway. Therefore, I wish to be clear in my appraisal of this work of art.

Ken Jacobs' early collection of random, bizarre, boring images is intended to Kuleshov Effect hapless people with too much time on their hands into thinking there is something deep going on. It is an example of someone who calls himself an artist putting all the burden on an audience and expecting to be applauded for his lack of effort. It is an artifact of narcissism masquerading as art. It is not even worth looking at to make fun of, like Edward D. Wood. It is complete and utter crap.


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