Close Up

12 March 2017: Ornette: Made in America


Ornette: Made in America
Shirley Clarke
1984 | 77 min | Colour & B/W | Digital

"Clarke’s free-associating, layered approach to her portrait of the legendary free jazz icon mischievously reflects the multidimensional fabric of Ornette Coleman’s inventive, radical approach to jazz. Initially dropping the project of filming Coleman in the Sixties, Clarke resumed production in the Eighties at the urging of producer Kathelin Hoffman, in part to document the inaugural concert of a new performing arts center opening in Coleman’s hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. Clarke magically and unpredictably blends dramatization, video collage and rhythmic editing techniques with interviews and concert footage, to craft an energetic and otherworldly journey through the cosmos of Ornette Coleman. Featuring appearances by fellow creative eccentrics like William Burroughs and Brion Gysin while conjuring the philosophies of Buckminster Fuller, Clarke’s biography dreamily sketches out the transcendental orbit Coleman has always followed while tenderly tethered to his humble beginnings in a Fort Worth ghetto." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our retrospective on Shirley Clarke, generously supported by Milestone Films: