NEW 35mm PRINT! ► The rhythms of jazz often play important parts in the films of New American Cinema luminary Shirley Clarke. A quarter-century after The Connection, her edgy, jazz-infused debut feature, Clarke fashioned this unorthodox documentary/avant-garde hybrid, a portrait of the great saxophonist and free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman. Clarke’s film, freeform and fanciful, attempts to capture something of the radical spirit of Coleman’s sonic experiments. In its kaleidoscopic approach to an iconic musical subject, it could also be something of a prototype for I’m Not There, Todd Haynes’s brilliantly unconventional take on Bob Dylan. (The two movies happen to share a cinematographer, noted indie-film veteran Edward Lachman.) Structured around a 1983 performance of Coleman’s “Skies of America” suite with the Fort Worth Symphony (Coleman’s a Forth Worth native), Ornette: Made in America interweaves archival footage, psychedelic sequences, dramatic re-enactments, interviews with jazz critics and musicians, appearances by William S. Burroughs and Buckminster Fuller, and Clarke’s playful (and characteristic) questioning of documentary practice. Coleman himself is a fascinating and commanding presence throughout. This was Clarke’s last film. “Whatever the idea is, it's never something you can just tell to another person and be sure that they know what you mean, so... just play the music” (Ornette Coleman). Colour, 35mm. 85 mins.
"A hazy but inviting glimpse of the great modern jazz musician and his world."New York Times | full review
"This ambitious and affectionate effort to capture an elusive subject is undoubtedly worth a look."Chicago Reader | full review
"A funky tribute to the great saxophonist."Village Voice | full review