Hamilton College Spring ’16 F.I.L.M. Series Events: February

by Hamilton College Media Relations/Upcoming Events

Clinton, N.Y. – Hamilton College’s F.I.L.M. (Forum on Image and Language in Motion) series continues. Films are scheduled on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. in the Bradford Auditorium in the Kirner-Johnson Building on Hamilton’s campus. The theme of the spring series is “In Focus: African-Americans in Film: Rarely Screened Landmarks.”

All events are free and open to the public.

Organizer and Hamilton Visiting Professor Scott MacDonald has directed the film series for more than 20 years. He has taught at Hamilton for many years as well as at Utica College, Bard College, Harvard University and the University of Arizona.

Listed below are the programs for February in the spring 2016 series.


Sunday, Feb. 7: Portrait of Jason (1967), directed by Shirley Clarke, starring Jason Holliday (née Aaron Payne).

A gay African-American hustler and aspiring cabaret performer, Jason is the sole on-screen presence in the film. As he narrates his troubled life story to the camera, Clarke and her partner at the time, actor Carl Lee, provoke Jason with increasing hostility as the film progresses. Portrait of Jason employs avant-garde and cinema-verite techniques to reach the tragedy underlying Jason’s theatrical, exaggerated persona.

Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman called Portrait of Jason “the most extraordinary film I’ve seen in my life.” It was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2015.


Sunday, Feb. 14: Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1972) by William Greaves.

In 1968 director William Greaves filmed a scene in Central Park: an argument between a couple. At the same time, the crew was filming themselves filming the movie and the surrounding scene. The cast and crew weren’t sure the director knew what he was doing. The result was a head-spinning landmark of experimental film that playfully created a liminal space between fiction and reality, art and artifice.

Steven Soderbergh said: “I just thought it was one of the most amazing things I’d ever seen…. I couldn’t believe how great it was and that it wasn’t famous.” Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2015.


Sunday, Feb 21Killer of Sheep (1977) by Charles Burnett.

Among the most accomplished films to come out of the “LA Rebellion,” a two-decade flowering of African-American filmmaking in Los Angeles, Killer of Sheep is a glimpse at the life of a family in Watts, shot in neorealist style on a shoestring. Because Burnett could not afford the rights to the music used in the film, it did not have a theatrical release for nearly 30 years.

Killer of Sheep was chosen by the National Society of Film Critics as one of the 100 Essential Films of all time. The National Film Registry selected it for preservation in 1990.

losing groundSunday, Feb. 28: Losing Ground (1982), directed by Kathleen Collins; starring Seret Scott, Bill Gunn and Duane Jones.

Kathleen Collins was a film professor at City College of New York. Her one feature, Losing Ground, is about a middle-class couple – Sarah (Seret Scott), a young professor of philosophy writing a treatise on aesthetics, and her husband, Victor (Bill Gunn), an older artist who has just sold a painting to a major museum. The couple decides to spend the summer in a village in upstate New York, where Victor becomes fascinated by the landscape, the light, and the Puerto Rican women who live there.

Richard Brody, a film critic for The New Yorker, said Losing Ground “is a nearly lost masterwork…. Had it screened widely in its time, it would have marked film history.”

Love and Rage will be posting the screenings for each month throughout the Spring 2016 semester.

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