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Who Is Henry Jaglom? (1995)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 7 November 1995 (USA)
Henry Jaglom was hailed by some as a cinematic genius, a feminist voice and a true maverick of American cinema, dismissed by others as a voyeuristic, egomaniac fraud and the "world's worst director,"


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Credited cast:
Candice Bergen ... Herself
Karen Black ... Herself
Peter Bogdanovich ... Himself
Michael Emil Michael Emil ... Himself (as Michael Emil Jaglom)
Milos Forman ... Himself
Molly Haskell ... Herself
Dennis Hopper ... Himself
Henry Jaglom ... Himself
Sally Kellerman ... Herself
John Landis ... Himself
Melissa Leo ... Herself
Andrea Marcovicci ... Herself
Ross McElwee Ross McElwee ... Himself
Zack Norman ... Himself
Martha Plimpton ... Herself


Henry Jaglom was hailed by some as a cinematic genius, a feminist voice and a true maverick of American cinema, dismissed by others as a voyeuristic, egomaniac fraud and the "world's worst director,"

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Not Rated


Official Sites:

PBS [United States]


Canada | USA



Release Date:

7 November 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

¿Quién es Henry Jaglom? See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Calliope Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Features Eating (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

Not Someone to Love, apparently
11 November 2001 | by petershelleyauSee all my reviews

The French auteur theory aligns the film director with his film. Although not allowing for workmanlike directors who are able to genre jump, the theory maintains that each product has an imposed and recognisably singular vision. As an independent film maker who produces cinema verite style work, Henry Jaglom is described in this doco by Alex Rubin and Jeremy Workman as individual as Godard or John Cassavetes, however their portrait of Jaglom focuses more on the man than his films. Since Rubin and Workman show behind the scenes footage of Jaglom berating his actors, we assume that Jaglom hasn't imposed any restriction on them. If he lets himself be seen like this... However there is little of Jaglom's film work here. We get Jaglom's home movies, TV interviews, and comments about him by various actors and critics, with more negative than positive input. There is the sense that the makers of the doco assume an audience's knowledge of Jaglom, which gives the title an exasperated clinical tone, from the lack of depth given to his oeuvre, and from the inclusion of negative comments, since how can you appreciate an insult about something you are ignorant of? The footage of Jaglom in tantrum is shown to counter Jaglom's claim of unscripted improvisation as the ultimate freedom for the actor, which he rationalises by stating that it is a technique to help the actor deliver a performance. However it's clear that Rubin and Workman don't buy this defence otherwise they would present the takes that resulted, as evidence. Clearly they are out to do a hatchet job, from the opening credits featuring a steadicam wearing a Jaglom signature hat, Jaglom's taping conversations with Orson Welles without his approval (which Jaglom denies), and his willingness to help up and comer's as being motivationally suspicious. Occasionally the negativity is funny - with his brother Michael Emil revealing a sibling rivalry, and Andrea Marcovicci doing an impression of Jaglom's sociopathic form of concerned questioning. However Candice Bergen's comment that "if she had Henry as her father or husband she could have taken Poland" is evidence of his sustained motivation, which comes across in spite of the supposed resistance of his actors, some of whom have given him their best screen work. It's fun to see Henry on TV's Gidget as a beatnic, and one laughs at how Bob Rafelson dismisses Jaglom when he was at the Actors Studio. As an admirer of Jaglom, I was disatisfied with this coverage. It seems aimed to drive a viewer away from his films, rather than want to explore them, which left me sad. The French auteurs may be right about the singular vision of a director, but I don't think that should also include his personal behaviour. I may not want to be Henry Jaglom's friend, but that doesn't mean his work is not worth a look.

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