Jon Jost

Jon Jost

Jon JOST (1943, USA) grew up in Georgia, Japan, Italy, Germany and Virginia. After being kicked out of university, he started making 16mm films. In 1965, Jost was imprisoned for two years as a draft dodger. After his release, he became politically active as a New Left Cinema director. He has made over 60 features and short films, for most of which he also takes credit as writer, cinematographer and editor. Since 1996, Jost has filmed exclusively on digital video. He has made films in different forms, largely focusing on specific American topics. One of his most widely known films, All the Vermeers in New York (1990), won the Caligari Film Award at Berlinale.

Filmography

Portrait (1963, short), Repetition (1963, short), Sunday (1963, short), Chalma (1964, short), City (1964, short), We Didn't Go to Unique's (1965, short), Judith (1965, short), Traps (1967, short), Leah (1967, short), 13 Fragments and 3 Narratives from Life (1969, short), Primaries (1969, short), A Turning Point in Lunatic China (1969, short), 1,2,3, Four (1969, short), Susannah's Film (1969, short), Canyon (1970, short), Flower (1970, short), Canyon (1970, short), Fall Creek (1970, short), A Man Is More Than the Sum of His Parts/ A Woman Is (1971, short), Primaries/A Turning Point in Lunatic China/1,2,3, Four (1971, short), Speaking Directly (some American notes) (1973), Angel City (1976), Last Chants for a Slow Dance (Dead End) (1977), Beauty Sells Best (1978, short), Chameleon (1978), X2: Two Dances by Nancy Karp (1980), Godard 80 (1980, short), Stagefright (1981), Psalm (1982), Slow Moves (1983), Bell Diamond (1985), Plain Talk and Common Sense (Uncommon Senses) (1988), Rembrandt Laughing (1988), Sure Fire (1990), All the Vermeers in New York (1990), Frame Up (1993), The Bed You Sleep In (1993), Uno a te, uno a me, et uno a Raffaele/One for You, One for Me and One for Raphael (1994), Albrechts Flügel/Albrecht's Wings (1994), London Brief (1997), Nas correntes de luz da ria formosa (1999), Muri Romani (1999), 6 Easy Pieces (1999), Dharma Do As Dharma Does (2000, short), Vera X 3 (2000, short), Watersong #1 (2000, short), Muri romani/Roman Walls (2000), Til Edvard (2001, short), Trinity (2002, short), Chhattisgarh Sketches (2003, doc), Oui non (2003), Homecoming (2004), Passages (2006), La lunga ombra/The Long Shadow (2006), Over Here (2008), Misteri bulkehan gurimja/Love in the Shadows (2008, co-dir), Parable (2008), AMTRAK (2009, short), Rant (2009), Swimming in Nebraska (2010), Dissonance (2011), Imagens de uma cidade perdida (2011), Stand (2012, short), Dead End (2012), The Narcissus Flowers of Katsura-Shima (2012), Coming to Terms (2013), They Had It Coming (2015), Blue Strait (2015)

Jon Jost at IFFR

Speaking Directly

Speaking Directly

Speaking Directly can best be described as an original mixture of a political film against the Vietnam War and a personal film: a home movie.The film is very autobiographical. While he made it, Jost lived in fairly primitive surroundings in a remote area of Montana. He presents his girl-friend, friends and neighbours and asks them for example to say what they think of him. He also appears in front of the camera himself, for a relatively brief time in view of the length of the film, but he exposes himself totally in front of the cinematographic mirror. The sensitive personal scenes are juxtaposed with more sober analytical parts.Jost uses for instance a number of very moving pictures of the Vietnam War which he repeats one after the other. During these repeated shots, lists of war events are summarised. This kind of element makes the film a fiery and passionate political plea against the former American policy.Speaking Directly was once called a 'wild ambitious' film (Manohla Dargis) and was the first film with which Jost focused the attention of the critics on himself. Jonathan Rosenbaum (American Film): 'A candid and challenging self-portrait, it carries autobiographical directness and political rigour a lot further than one might have thought they could go in film'. The film lasting almost two hours was made in one year by Jost, almost without financial means.The film was too direct and too radical te be recognised in the circuit of avant-garde film and too complex, too personal and also too directed at film-making itself to appeal to the politically-interested audience.

Jon Jost, Jon Jost
  • 110'

  • USA

IFFR 1992

Sure fire

Sure fire

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
  • 83'

  • USA

IFFR 1992

Trinity

Trinity

Trinity is an installation on a grand scale being prepared at the ZKM (media art school) in Karlsruhe that, in its final form, will comprise 10 projection screens and a special architectural space. The summary shown here, a kind of preview, consists of a sampling of images for a single screen. This concentrated choice provides an impression of the painterly quality of the images that came about by processing and manipulating a short shot (of one minute and 20 seconds) several times in a complex way on the advanced computers in Karlsruhe. The expression painterly quality can be taken fairly literally here: the images are often purely abstract and can only be compared with the famous works of the historic abstract Expressionists. The completed final work will be on show in Karlsruhe in the autumn of 2002.

Jon Jost
  • 35'

  • Italy

IFFR 2002

World premiere