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ALL THE VERMEERS IN NEW YORK

USA, 1990 (MIFF 1991, Fiction)

Director: Jon Jost

Prolific, political and peripatetic Jon Jost is a genuine cinema maverick. He works not so much against the system as out of it, with an independence that is both exhilarating and harsh. This is his most lavish film yet and possibly the most accessible. It seems to signal a new direction for Jost evoking as it does the spectre of an American Eric Rohmer.

The story concerns a young French woman trying to make it as an actor in New York. She shares an apartment with an aspiring opera singer and another wealthy young woman. While lost in a reverie at the Metropolitan Museum, Anna is passed a note by a Wall Street broker who finds solace from the trading pit in Vermeer's cool masterpieces. After a few meetings together and a series of other events involving the roommates, the stock broker collapses at the Met while Anna is absorbed in a Vermeer portrait.

If the story is sketchy and emotionally evanescent, the effect of the film is a richly detailed portrait of a city and a timE, a kind of obituary for the nineteen eighties. The film evokes the splendours of New York, of the art and financial worlds, while it cuts through the viciousness of a decade consumed with money and surface gloss.

As we have come to expect in Jost's films the cinematography is austere and sumptuous - one sequence with the camera simply gliding through the foyer of the Met is sheer magic - and it only of the many pleasures in this elegantly crafted portrait of a culture in crisis (a no-budget Bonfire of the Vanities?) A unique and pure filmic experience.

See also...

Godard ‘80

UK, 1980
The famous French film director Jean-Luc Godard is interviewed by British film theorist Peter Wollen and the editor of Framework Don Ranveaud He talks of the developments in his work, the change in s… More »

STAGEFRIGHT

USA/Germany, 1981
Stagefright is an essay-film which examines the nature of theatre, of language, of magic and of 'acting'. Through purely cinematic means it moves, step-by-step, through the layers of human expression… More »

SURE FIRE

USA, 1990
The quintessential American independent filmmaker, Jon Jost is a one-man-hand, directing, writing, shooting, editing and usually marketing his films - all on an absolute shoestring. He's been doing i… More »

LONDON BRIEF

UK/US/Portugal, 1997
To those familiar with the extensive array of films by Jon Jost, he is a figurehead, a pioneer amongst independent and experimental filmmakers. Jost is a one-man crew. With camera in hand, he has con… More »

OUI NON

Italy/France/USA, 2002
Celebrated experimental director Jon Jost has created an arresting and challenging film that plays with the form of the burgeoning digital medium and its content, for Oui Non is not easily categorise… More »

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