Shirley Clarke Ernest Callenbach - Essay

Ernest Callenbach

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In Portrait of Jason, a man talks to the camera for almost an hour and a half; yet the film is intensely interesting. We hear some other voices besides his—an old friend named Carl, who berates him toward the end from offscreen, and a female voice (Shirley Clarke's) laconically directing the proceedings. The camera tracks Jason around from couch to chair, to hearth, from a fixed position; it zooms in and out on Jason's face; sometimes, when it goes out of focus, moments of soft, abstract image mask a hiatus in camera time (during which, we learn, the camera magazine was changed). Otherwise, it is almost as if we were looking at the Empire State Building with Andy Warhol: we are made to stare, in real camera...

(The entire section is 486 words.)