SMORGASBORD

USA, 1983 (MIFF 2016, Jerry Lewis: The Total Filmmaker)

Director: Jerry Lewis

SMORGASBORD

"Serenely avant-garde … the culmination of the development of Lewis' cinematic language." – Cinepassion.org

After several unsuccessful suicide attempts, a hapless misfit seeks out psychiatric assistance. While on the couch, he relates the various memories and stories that have led him to his predicament – a journey on a very cheap airline; the experiences of his ancestors in 15th-century France – all laced with a heavy dose of comic absurdity.

Jerry Lewis' last directorial effort (also known as Cracking Up) was all but shelved by distributors, fearing that its characteristic mix of dark humour and slapstick would be out of step with the dispositions of 1980s cinemagoers. Yet, as time has passed and Lewis' work has begun to receive the critical reappraisal it deserves, Smorgasbord can finally be seen as it is: a bold parting shot from an eccentric genius.

Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum will introduce this sesion.


See also...

THE ERRAND BOY

"One of the most unusual and unique portrayals of the Hollywood machine: an anarchic meta-comedy that finds absurdity, melancholy and beauty behind the studio gates." – Little White Lies ... Concerned... More »

WHICH WAY TO THE FRONT?

"Probably the most sustained demonstration of rhythmic brilliance in Jerry's work. Long before Tarantino, this Jewish retribution fantasy updates the old Nazi impersonation shtick to The Dirty Dozen t... More »

THE BELLBOY

Lewis' directorial debut is an ingenious, nonlinear confection that riffs on silent era comedy and his own movie stardom. ... Written in just eight days at the Miami hotel that would become its settin... More »

THE PATSY

"The most conceptual of Lewis' films … [a] masterpiece of a cinema of embarrassment that Lewis made his special domain and to which he alone holds the secrets." – Senses of Cinema ... Originally entit... More »

ONE MORE TIME

A late Rat Pack comedy gets the distinctive Jerry Lewis treatment. ... In this sequel to crime caper spoof Salt & Pepper, Sammy Davis Jr and Peter Lawford reprise their roles as the eponymous Soho nig... More »

THE BIG MOUTH

"If Thomas Pynchon were a filmmaker instead of a novelist and had directed only The Big Mouth, he might have understandably left it at that. A visionary splintered-society satire cutting through delus... More »

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