IMDb > Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis (2006)

Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis (2006) More at IMDbPro »


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A mesmerizing collage of images and audio from the life and work of Jack Smith, the underground filmmaker... See more » | Add synopsis »
2 wins See more »
(3 articles)
7 Cool Documentaries About Filmmakers
 (From Underground Film Journal. 10 January 2011, 6:00 AM, PST)

Underground Film Links: May 30, 2010
 (From Underground Film Journal. 30 May 2010, 6:00 AM, PDT)

Flaming Creatures Memories
 (From Underground Film Journal. 18 May 2010, 6:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
tale of a pale man See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order)
Jack Smith ... Himself (archive footage)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nayland Blake ... Himself
Ira Cohen ... Himself
Tony Conrad ... Composer
Richard Foreman ... Himself
Ivan Galietti ... Himself
Helen Gee ... Limelight Gallery founder
Robert Heide ... Himself
Henry Hills ... Himself
Gary Indiana ... Himself
Ken Jacobs ... Himself
Mike Kelley ... Artist

George Kuchar ... Himself
Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt ... Himself
Sylvere Lotringer ... Himself
Agosto Machado ... Performer

Judith Malina ... Theatre Director / Actor
John Matturri ... Himself

Taylor Mead ... Himself
Jonas Mekas ... Anthology Film Archives / Filmmaker
Mario Montez ... Himself
Billy Name ... Himself
William Niederkorn ... Author
Uzi Parnes ... Himself
Lawrence Rinder ... Himself
Ari M. Roussimoff ... Himself

Andrew Sarris ... Himself
Mary Sue Slater ... Herself
Sue Slater ... Sister
Abbe Stubbenhaus ... Assistant 1967 - 1972
Jerry Tartaglia ... Himself
Ronald Tavel ... Himself
Ela Troyano ... Filmmaker
John Vaccaro ... Himself

Andy Warhol ... Himself (archive footage)

John Waters ... Himself
Robert Wilson ... Director

Holly Woodlawn ... Himself

Mary Woronov ... Herself

Nick Zedd ... Filmmaker
John Zorn ... Himself

Directed by
Mary Jordan 
Writing credits
Mary Jordan 

Produced by
Mary Jordan .... executive producer
Mary Jordan .... producer
Stephen Kessler .... executive producer
Ross Morgan .... executive producer
Kenneth Peralta .... executive producer
Kenneth Peralta .... producer
Richard Prince .... executive producer
Kenneth Wayne .... producer
Alessandra Zeka .... line producer
Original Music by
Robert Aaron 
Joel Diamond  (as Joel A. Diamond)
Thurston Moore 
Matt Morandi  (as Matthew Morandi)
Cinematography by
Jon Fordham 
Mary Jordan 
Film Editing by
Alex Marquez 
Sound Department
Richie Nieto .... sound re-recording mixer
Richie Nieto .... supervising sound editor
Bill Seery .... sound editor
Kelly Spivey .... sound editor
Andrew Sterling .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
J.M. Silverman .... camera operator
Editorial Department
Konstantin Bojanov .... additional editor
Brian Gates .... additional editor
Sharon Hughes .... assistant editor
Delia Kelly .... assistant editor
Richard Kryszko .... assistant editor
Emir Lewis .... additional editor
James Lyons .... consulting editor
H. Spencer Young .... additional editor
H. Spencer Young .... contributing editor
Paul Zucker .... additional editor
Paul Zucker .... contributing editor
Music Department
Deirdre Corley .... assistant music supervisor
Carlton DeWoody .... assistant music supervisor (as Carlton DeWoody III)
Connie Howell .... music supervisor (as Connie M. Howell)
Mary Jordan .... music supervisor
The Wowz .... musician
Other crew
Michael Almereyda .... script advisor
Ariana Bernstein .... production assistant
Rachel Mary Cox .... production assistant
Nicholas Feitel .... intern
Sam Grossman .... assistant writer
Gregory Segal .... production assistant
H. Spencer Young .... script advisor

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:94 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »

Did You Know?

Jack Smith:I was knocking myself out to make this stuff. And I always assumed that people would see this and have pity and give me a little support.
Jack Smith:They didn't!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Cuban CabelleroSee more »


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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
tale of a pale man, 5 September 2007
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

Overall, Jack Smith reminds me of the Hunter S. Thompson line in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas about his lawyer Dr. Gonzo: "One of God's prototypes. A high-powered mutant not even considered for mass production: too weird to live, and too rare to die." Smith, growing out of the rural dregs of Texas depression-era squalor, was fascinated and compelled by expression through impressions of the outcasts. A kind of half garbage-man and half pre-Andy Warhol absurdist, Smith first went through photography, where he made up photos as if in little cinematic vignettes through "found" art (the garbage) as well as "found" actors as it were. His amateur techniques and stringently independent tactics of rounding up people who were cast aside in lower east side Manhattan (one of which a transvestite, Mario Montez, named after one of Smith's idols Maria Montes), and in blending the fantastical with reality. Warhol ends up getting a chunk of the story in Destruction of Atlantis, and not without good reason; Warhol was once quoted as saying Smith was the only one he would copy from, and one sees a very strange push and pull short-lived collaboration between Warhol- whom Smith saw as the establishment already with the money he kept on receiving for his work- as the two minds were too much into their own styles to really meet at one point.

There is also what might be the most fascinating section of the film where the story of Flaming Creatures and Smith's rocky film-making not-quite career takes shape. "Creatures", from the clips presented, is a manically profound farce that is like getting the roughest 16mm glimpse at Smith's consciousness, as it is unkempt and unapologetically sexually ambiguous (to say it's outrageous and improvisational is putting it lightly), but it's alive and buzzing with a sense of humor and depraved poetry. It was as well, upon its original underground release, banned and labeled obscene by New York City, and banned in 22 states and four countries. This became something of a big lament for Smith that affected the rest of his life, more or less, in due to how the double-edged sword of film criticism worked him. Jonas Mekas, the first critic at the Village Voice, who championed the film across the country, getting himself arrested in the process, as well as to filmmakers like Fellini, is put in a sort of biased light by Mary Jordan. Mekas got most of the money from the screenings, with Smith getting next to nothing, and from there on in whenever Smith tried to make new films people would say "we just want Flaming Creatures." On the one hand it's a little un-fair to judge all film criticism the way we're meant to be shown here with the Mekas/Smith drama, but on the other hand without Mekas Smith would be even less known than he did with him.

But Smith was through and through a self-created visual anarchist, an originator of many of the avant-garde forms of film-making and art in the 1960s and beyond, and bizarre flaunter of what he "owned", which was only his self-creations (his dingy , uniquely movie-studio-fantasy designed apartment and incomplete films). And in this as her subject, Jordan makes a very convincing case for Smith as one of those truly sad but funny stories of an artist. As one sees through the interviews with friends, critics, admirers, actors, past possible lovers and closest confidants, as well as the phantasmagoria of bits and pieces of his work and audio clips, Smith made small waves when compared to the more noted experimental filmmakers of his time, but in such small circles the effect was extraordinary.

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