Star Spangled to Death, by Ken Jacobs
Star Spangled to Death
by Ken Jacobs
STAR SPANGLED TO DEATH is an epic film shot for hundreds of dollars! combining found-films with my own more-or-less staged filming, it pictures a stolen and dangerously sold-out America, allowing examples of popular culture to self-indict. Racial and religious insanity, monopolization of wealth and the purposeful dumbing down of citizens and addiction to war oppose a Beat playfulness.
A handful of artists costumed and performing unconvincingly appeal to audience imagination and understanding to complete the picture. Jack Smith's pre-FLAMING CREATURES performance as The Spirit Not Of Life But Of Living (the movie has raggedly cosmic pretensions), celebrating Suffering (rattled impoverished artist Jerry Sims) at the crux of sentient existence, is a visitation of the divine.
"Almost 50 years in the making — filming began in 1956 — Ken Jacobs's 440-minute avant-garde epic was named the best film of 2004 by J. Hoberman of The Village Voice. A history of 20th-century politics and culture communicated through a crazy quilt of found film, including a dancelike performance by Jack Smith (Flaming Creatures) as The Spirit of Life but Not of Living and sustained rants by the downtown character Jerry Sims as Suffering, it's the ultimate underground movie, subversive and frequently hilarious." -The New York Times