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28 April 2013: Star Spangled to Death

star-spangled-to-death-ken-jacobs-default.jpgStar Spangled to Death, 2004 © Ken Jacobs

Star Spangled to Death
Ken Jacobs
2004 | 402 min | Colour & B/W | Digital

We are very excited to present a rare screening of Ken Jacobs's epic, six-and-half-hour "perverse reach for the intolerable" Star Spangled to Death.

"Star Spangled to Death is an epic film shot for hundreds of dollars! combining found-films with my own more-or-less staged filming, it pictures a stolen and dangerously sold-out America, allowing examples of popular culture to self-indict. Racial and religious insanity, monopolization of wealth and the purposeful dumbing down of citizens and addiction to war oppose a Beat playfulness.

A handful of artists costumed and performing unconvincingly appeal to audience imagination and understanding to complete the picture. Jack Smith's pre-Flaming Creatures performance as The Spirit Not Of Life But Of Living (the movie has raggedly cosmic pretensions), celebrating Suffering (rattled impoverished artist Jerry Sims) at the crux of sentient existence, is a visitation of the divine." – K.J.

"The realisation of Star Spangled to Death as a six-hour long video concludes a work begun by film-maker Ken Jacobs almost a half century ago. In this final version, which closely follows the original plans, long passages from public information films, cartoons, documentaries and musicals (often shown in their entirety) are interspersed by (and in tension with) Jacobs' own footage, which was shot mostly in late-50s New York and testifies to the birth of a new cinema: liberated and spontaneous, absurd yet real, with zest and meaning. Those were different times and the participants then young and innocent (many have since died). But change a few names and faces, and the subject matter becomes remarkably Present. Touching upon politics, war, race, religion and science, it is not a curio or period piece, but an ongoing commentary on the country that made it possible. An indictment, or at the least a parable, of the USA in the modern world: a juggernaut careening to certain destruction." – Mark Webber

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