Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Little Stabs At Happiness

In my high school (E.O.Smith,Storrs,CT) library there was a book I studied from time to time on my lunch break in lieu of a meal. This particular book (whose author's name escapes me, could it be Underground Film by Parker Tyler?) was concerned, in part, with experimental film; and it included two film stills which struck me as beautiful, bizarre, and unforgettable. One image was from Flaming Creatures and the other from Little Stabs At Happiness. My admiration for the pictures preceded any knowledge that both came about in large part through the efforts of Jack Smith. Of course there is more to this film than Mr. Smith's performance and concepts. It is primarily the work of Smith's constant companion of that time: Ken Jacobs, a remarkable film artist even without Smith, but, for me, so much better with. I've limited myself here to the first and last sections of this masterpiece, since those contain Smith's contribution. I encourage anyone interested in Mid-Twentieth Century American Filmmaking to rent or borrow the video: Treasures From American Film Archives, Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986.

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