ORNETTE: MADE IN AMERICA
“Discovering the work of filmmaker and the Film-Makers' Cooperative co-founder, Shirley Clarke made me aware of the wide range of cinema’s possibilities. This 1985 documentary shot in collaboration with the late Ornette Coleman, using a diverse array of video manipulations, is an impressive portrait of the musician and has strongly influenced the making of A Different Score. Active member and advocate of New York’s independent film community, Clarke later turned her attention to social-issue filmmaking. She has always been a wild card and her work deserves to be more known.” –Anaïs Ngbanzo Having devised, in The Connection, an improvisatory visual style perfectly suited to that film’s jazz soundtrack, it should come as no surprise that Clarke would produce one of the great portraits of a jazz musician. After first filming free jazz innovator Ornette Coleman back in the ’60s, Clarke picked up her subject anew in the early ’80s, shooting his concert at a newly opened arts center in Fort Worth, Texas, the saxophonist’s hometown. An eclectic collection of eccentrics that includes William Burroughs and Brion Gysin stop by to pay homage to Coleman, while Clarke, using video collage and staccato cutting between performance and interviews, finds an approach that’s as unprecedented as that of her subject.