With Dennis Doros and Amy Heller
SUNDANCE 6 | SAT NOV 10 | 6:30 PM | Q&A
Director: Shirley Clarke
Cinematographer: Edward Lachman
Editor: Shirley Clarke
Composer: Ornette Coleman
Cast: Ornette Coleman, Demon Marshall, Eugene Tatum
Running time: 85 min.
Gorgeously restored, Shirley Clarke’s documentary profiles legendary jazz iconoclast Ornette Coleman. Of Coleman, Slant Magazine says, “He didn’t unshackle jazz so much as crack it open and squeeze the yolk (African swing rhythms), the white (Delta blues inflection), and the shell (bandstand instrumentation) through his fist.” Clarke’s atypical biography captures this masterful stylist and truly singular artist with a radical approach. Clarke wove documentary footage, video art, music videos and architecture into a vibrant collage that mirrored Coleman’s groundbreaking jazz.
With commentary from family, fans and friends, including William S. Burroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Robert Palmer and Coleman’s son, Denardo, the film provides insight into the renowned and toweringly innovative artist. Clarke vibrantly re-creates Coleman’s birthplace, Fort Worth, Texas, to which he returned to perform his Skies of America symphony with his electric Prime Time group.
Shirley Clarke, one of the key figures in the American independent film movement, also directed The Connection (1961), The Cool World (1963) and Portrait of Jason (1967). Witnessing Milestone’s restored print of Ornette, film critic J. Hoberman called the film “something of a revelation, a summarizing work that draws on virtually everything the pioneering independent made before.”