Sure fire

Jon Jost

IFFR 1992

  • 83'
  • USA
  • 1990
Sure Fire is set in the remote town of Circleville in Utah, which is far from blossoming as a community. The aggressive and authoritarian real-estate developer Wes wants to exploit this fact. He develops a plan to buy houses and convert them to holiday and retirement homes for wealthy Californians. Larry, a former school friend of Wes, is one of the victims of his financial transactions. There are also conflicts with his wife Bobbi and son Phillip; Wes is just as aggressive and authoritarian as a father. The hunting trip on which the young Phillip is initiated into the art of hunting ends tragically.In some scenes Jost consciously tries the patience of his viewers. For instance, the camera rides along a row of trees for minutes on end and the spectacular end of the film is filmed in a strikingly unspectacular way. Jost says that he isnot aiming for catharsis. He wants the images and thoughts to reverberate in the viewer after he has left the cinema.Sure Fire was shot entirely on location in Utah. Jost likes his films to be a registration of the surroundings in which they were filmed. In this case that is a rugged landscape populated by strict and taciturn Mormons. Three Mormon texts are included in the film as titles contrasting starkly with the activities of Wes. They stress the mood of inevitable doom.The story of the film evolved on location during improvisations with the actors while Jost tried to integrate in the film authentic situations as found on the spot. Alongside professional actors, several members of the local population played a role in the film. Jost dedicated Sure Fire to his father, who more or less inspired the character Wes.
Jon Jost
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 1992
Henry S. Rosenthal
Fortissimo Films
Jon Jost
Jon Jost
Jon Jost