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Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis (2006)

Judith Malina , Taylor Mead , Mary Jordan  |  NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis + Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986
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Product Details

  • Actors: Judith Malina, Taylor Mead, Mario Montez, Holly Woodlawn, Gary Indiana
  • Directors: Mary Jordan
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arts Alliance America
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001B8TU7Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,426 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews


It is gratifying when an influential artist is profiled in an accessible documentary. --Matt Zoller Seitz --New York Times

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story of a true genius December 9, 2008
i just caught this on Sundance. What a brilliant portrait of Jack Smith, told with wit and love, although I'm sure he wasn't easy to love! Smith was the finest artist of the 20th C. and it is tragic that he refused to promote himself like others did. However, his failure to pursue fame and fortune (he was vehemently anti-capitalist) adds to his mystique and ensures his fame will grow over the years. His visual sense is beyond compare -- the colors and shapes (e.g, pink gowns and lilies amid jungle greenery) are unforgettable. His feud with Jonas Mekas is funny and sad.

The editing here is superb. This film is a must for any fan of Jack Smith or the underground films and theater of the 1960's. Smith's influence will never not be felt.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at Smith's life and art. September 16, 2008
Length: 2:09 Mins
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A man without dreams withers and dies September 17, 2009
How does one begin to ponder the unanswered question that was underground artist extraordinaire Jack Smith? Fleeing the dreary Midwest of his childhood for New York's Greenwich Village in the 1950's, Smith would influence and inspire a generation of filmmakers and artists while steadfastly maintaining an oath of poverty and self-imposed obscurity. Tall and gangly, Smith was an openly gay artist who drew upon the gaudy Technicolor fantasies of Maria Montez for his own personal mythology. Furthermore, Smith embraced these visions of exotic lands replicated on Burbank soundstages at face value, without camp, without irony. To Smith, these films were a portal to another world free of ugliness and injustice. Pulling bits of scenery and costumes from dustbins and recruiting actors off the street, Smith would explore his hothouse vision with fevered abandon.

Flaming Creatures (1963), Smith's only completed film would create a sensation, with audiences lining up around the block at the fiercely independent theaters who risked police raids by screening it. Using over-exposed black and white film, Creatures follows the rooftop orgy of a group of men, woman and transvestites as they roll in and out of extravagant costumes. The soundtrack consists of classical music from scratchy records, with Smith whispering "Psst! Did you hear? Ali Baba is coming!" at one point. Seen today, Creatures seems tame and antiquated and is best appreciated in a historical context.

Smith would never experience the critical, let alone the financial success of Creatures in his lifetime. Staging plays throughout the Seventies in his loft apartment, hipsters would gather at midnight only to be shooed away by an indignant Smith, incensed that they dare come see his work on their schedule.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful tribute to a shockingly talented and seductive man. Have seen it numerous times, and every time it gets more and more addictive. Jack Smith will always be the only True ONE of the 20th century, warhol and others be damned.
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