Juleen Compton x 2
The 1960s were lean years for female filmmakers working in narrative features, and in this context the Juleen Compton’s accomplishment in mounting two independent, idiosyncratic films during the decade stands in even sharper relief. Relocating to New York City from Phoenix as a teenager, Compton started out as an actress, studying first with Lee Strasberg, then with The Group Theatre’s co-founder Harold Clurman, later her husband. Through her successful sideline in real estate and interior design, the fiercely free-willed Compton was able to finance her own films, and to make them without having to kowtow to an interfering producer, censor board, or studio. Exercising her hard-earned agency, Compton was able to make movies touching on the struggles for self-determination women faced in their own lives, legitimately liberated films in both content and style. To view or revisit her 1960s output is to encounter a titanic talent, producing tough-minded, enduring cinema against all odds.
35mm restored prints courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.