A dynamic member of the New York independent film movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and a pioneer of video in the 1970s, Shirley Clarke (1919–97) is one of the great untold stories of North American cinema. A dancer turned video artist and filmmaker, her work pushed beyond the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction and explored the space in-between. Her love of jazz found its way into many of her films, the improvisational rhythms matching the kinetic energy of her camerawork. With fellow filmmaker Jonas Mekas, Clarke was instrumental in the formation of the New American Cinema Group, now the largest archive and distributor of independent and avant-garde films in the world.
This program celebrates Clarke's recently restored feature films The Connection 1961, Portrait of Jason 1967, and Ornette: Made in America 1985, as well as her Academy Award winning documentary Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World 1963. The program also features her film The Cool World 1964 and a selection of Clarke's short films and video artworks, interviews with the artist, and her only onscreen feature film role in Agnès Varda Lion's Love 1969.