February 26-March 4 @ Anthology Film Archives
Beginning with his haunting 1991 feature debut, MASSILLON, an autobiographical account of growing up as a gay man in the American Midwest, William E. Jones has built a remarkable body of work that balances formal experimentation with astute cultural inquiry. Though his films are extremely varied – encompassing the landscape-based MASSILLON, avant-garde shorts, and a relatively straightforward documentary (IS IT REALLY SO STRANGE?) – he has repeatedly worked with found footage, exploring the situation of gay men (or other marginal communities) in American society by investigating their depiction in various modes of cinema (ranging from gay pornography and art film to even more culturally charged material, such as the clandestine police footage featured in TEAROOM).
Though his work is frequently highlighted in experimental, video, or gay and lesbian film festivals, William E. Jones is long-overdue for this comprehensive retrospective.
“William E. Jones’s métier is homosexuality; his vernaculars, gay pornography and experimental documentary film; his landscapes, Southern California (where he lives and works) and suburban Ohio (where he was raised); his mode, dandyism. In eleven remarkable films and videos…building upon the cinematic inventions of both Californian and foreign artists – from Morgan Fisher, Fred Halsted, Joe Gage, and Thom Andersen to Werner Schroeter, Luis Buñuel, Jean-Daniel Cadinot, and Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet – Jones has rethought hackneyed categories of, as well as boundaries between, art and pornography, fandom and critique, Hollywood and other kinds of filmmaking.” – Bruce Hainley, ARTFORUM
Co-sponsored by MIX NYC, presenter of the NY Queer Experimental Film Festival, and by the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at NYU. Very special thanks to William E. Jones, Stephen Kent Jusick (Mix Fest), Dominic Angerame (Canyon Cinema), and Maura King (Frameline).