Shirley Clarke

Shirley Clarke (née Brimberg; October 2, 1919 – September 23, 1997) was an American experimental and independent filmmaker, director and editor. … In her first film, Dance in the Sun (1953), she adapted a choreography of Daniel Nagrin. The New York Dance Film Society selected it as the best dance film of the year. In Dance in the Sun (1953), Clarke made use of rhythmic shots, shooting a dance on stage and then cutting from the stage to the beach and back and forth throughout the film. She crossed over from being a dancer, to being a filmmaker and expressing her art through a new medium. Clarke studied filmmaking with Hans Richter at the City College of New York after making In Paris Parks (1954). In 1955, she became a member of the Independent Filmmakers of America and was part of a circle of independent filmmakers in Greenwich Village such as Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, and Lionel Rogosin. In A Moment in Love, Clarke used abstract line and color to capture pure dance. … Clarke described the impact her experience as a woman had on her filmmaking: There are several reasons why I succeeded at all. One, I had enough money that I didn’t have to become a secretary to survive. And secondly, I have developed this personality, this way of being…I happen to have chosen a field where I have to be out there, to constantly connect, to be in charge of vast amounts of money, equipment and people. And that is not particularly a woman’s role in our society…I identified with black people because I couldn’t deal with the woman question and I transposed it. I could understand very easily the black problems, and I somehow equated them to how I felt. When I did The Connection, which was about junkies, I knew nothing about junk and cared less. It was a symbol–people who are on the outside. I always felt alone, and on the outside of the culture that I was in. I grew up in a time when women weren’t running things. They still aren’t. … Her first feature film The Connection (1961), from the play by Jack Gelber, concerns heroin-addicted jazz musicians, was part of the emergence of a New York independent feature film movement. The film heralded a new style addressing relevant social issues in black-and-white low-budget films. …”
Shirley Clarke (Video)
NY Times: Woman With a Lens, Restored
Criterion: Celebrating Shirley Clarke (Video)
The Magic Box: The Films of Shirley Clarke, 1929–1987
NPR – Shirley Clarke’s ‘Connection’: Will It Click At Last? (Audio)
vimeo: Shirley Clarke 53:02

The Connection (1962)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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