|Starring||Warren Finnerty, Roscoe Brown, Jerome Raphael, Freddie Redd, Jackie McLean|
THE CONNECTION is one of the most vital, fascinating films of the American independent world. It's an unapologetic look at a group of heroin addicts waiting together in a seedy apartment for their dealer to arrive with a fix while a two-man documentary team films the proceedings. By the time the dealer arrives, accompanied by a female street preacher, the filmmakers have become part of the film and the power relations between subject and viewer have shifted irrevocably
Shirley Clarke was a crucial part of the burgeoning post-war American film movement. She was one of the first signers — and the only woman — of the New American Cinema manifesto in 1961. Based on a hit off-broadway play by Jack Gelber, THE CONNECTION keeps the play's one-set constriction, but Clarke pokes fun ath the conventions of cinema verité while combining a mobile camera with a whirling choreography of movement and jazz to create an exciting, kinetic film.
A hit at Cannes, it was promptly banned by government censor boards for indecent language and a struggle ensued to have it theatrically screened in the United States. After decades of unavailability it has finally been restored on new 35mm prints thanks to UCLA, The Film Foundation and Milestone Films. Arthur Ornitz's black-and-white cinematography sparkles on the screen, and the performances of Freddie Redd and saxophone legend Jackie McLean sound impeccable in the new restoration. The release of THE CONNECTION is one of the cinema events of the year!
“Clarke’s decision to both literally and figuratively turn the camera on the creative types behind it was key; in many ways, The Connection sets the template for modern form-hijacking meta-movie gestures, from David Holzman’s Diary to the self-conscious indies of the ’90s. One man’s squalor is another’s mise en scène, it tells us, and anyone who thinks you can be objective with a movie camera running and a mojo pin in your arm is dreaming... Attention must be paid.”
– David Fear, Time Out New York
“Beneath the supposed meaningless of The Connection, beneath all walking, talking and jazzing, a sort of spiritual autopsy of contemporary man is performed.”
– Jonas Mekas