Skip to main content

RAY COHN/JACK SMITH

USA, 1994 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Jill Godmilow

A clash of the Titans! Roy Cohn, the homo­phobic rightwing bible thumper who came to prominence as McCarthy's right-hand man during the fifties witch-hunts, and Jack Smith, notorious underground filmmaker/performer (director of the 1963 camp classic Flaming Crea­tures) confront one another in a mesmerising per­formance piece by the icon of the New York theatre scene Ron Vawter.

These two legendary and equally infamous contemporaries could not have been more dif­ferent except for the fact they were white gay men living through oppressive times. Both political in their respective ways, closeted Cohen used his backroom conservative politics as drag (a guise to conceal his sexuality) whilst out and outrageous Smith went from backroom to centre stage turning drag into sexual politics through his Arabian Nights/B-movie kitsch inspired performances.

Shot entirely at the Kitchen theatre New York in late 1993, director Dill Godmilow and cine-matographer Ellen Kuras (Swoon) capture the immediacy of Vawter s portraits transforming theatre into challenging cinema. Roy Cohn/Jack Smith also stands as an elegant memorial for actor Ron Vawter (founding member of the hugely influential Wooster Group he was last seen here in Philadelphia) who, like the characters he so vibrantly brings to life, recently died of AIDS-related complications.

See also...

WAITING FOR THE MOON

Of the legendary relationship between Gertrude Stein and Alice Boyd Toklas, Thornton Wilder, wrote that "Alice was merely the dragon protecting the treasure." Waiting for the Moon develops from the ... More »

NOT BAD FOR A GIRL

... ... A fascinating 'serious' exploration of all-female rock bands now referred to universally as the riot girl phenomenon. Self-styled Californian feminist psychologist Dr Lisa interviews the ... More »

Sleepy Guy

A computer animation that mixes cartoon humour with the best of them. The Sleepy Guy just wants to get back to his dream romance but things just keep waking him up. ... More »

The Drum

The Drum is a dark fairy tale about two little girls, who become enchanted by a magic drum. The only way they can win the drum, however, is if they are mischievous. They dismiss their mother's ... More »

FRESH

From the moment light suffuses the screen, director Boaz Yakin transforms what could have been just another gritty, urban scenario into something mystical and enduring. Reimagining the 'ghetto' genre ... More »

RHINOSKIN: THE MAKING OF A MOVIE STAR

Taking on the Hollywood dream with th kind of guts it takes to get kicked off the lot of 20th Century Fox twice in one day, the crew of this witty look at the bottom rungs of teh American ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director