The Connection

Sat, Jan 9, 2016

The Connection

(Shirley Clarke, 1961, USA)
110mins, 35mm Projection

In a stark, unfurnished apartment north of 110th street, a group of heroin-addicted city-dwellers await their next fix. The camera steers between them; the gaps between their faces filled with loose woodwork and bare swinging light bulbs. Based on Jack Gelber’s “jazz play” of the same name, The Connection retains most of its on-stage cast. As the performers engage the camera’s presence, they test the limits of narrative fiction in their performances. A bedrock of American avant-garde cinema, Shirley Clarke’s debut received a hushed New York City release after a lengthy legal standoff targeted its profanity and realistic portrayal of addiction. Though the film takes place in a single apartment, its influence resonated worldwide igniting a firestorm of cinematic innovation spanning the next fifty years.

A rare 1956 television interview with Shirley Clarke in Minneapolis (3mins) precedes the feature.

Restored print courtesy of Milestone Films.

Get Updates from MAD

* indicates required