Flaming Creatures

Flaming Creatures
dir. Jack Smith/United States/1963/43 min.
Kinoteka, sala 3

Appearing ex nihilo in early 1963 and banned in New York City a year late, FLAMING CREATURES proposed an entirely new form of cine-glamour – one that owed everything and nothing to Hollywood’s. This discontinuous, 43-minute succession of “exotic” tableaux, served with a rich stew of (mainly) dated pop music, is a cross between Josef von Sternberg at his most studiedly artistic and a delirious home-movie of a transvestite bacchanal – except that “transvestite” is not precisely the word for Smith’s gang of Arabian odalisques, Spanish dancers, blonde vampires, and sultry beatniks (half naked, some real women). Nor would Sternberg have had the radically pragmatic aesthetic daring to use grossly outdated black-and-white film stock and thus give his images the flickering ethereality of a world half-consumed in the heat of its own desire. At once primitive and sophisticated, hilarious and poignant, spontaneous and studied, frenzied and languid, crude and delicate, avant and nostalgic, gritty and fanciful, fresh and faded, innocent and jaded, high and low, raw and cooked, underground and camp, black and white and white-on-white, composed and decomposed, richly perverse and gloriously impoverished, Flaming Creatures was something new under the sun. Had Jack Smith produced nothing other than this amazing artifact, he would still rank among the great visionaries of American film. (J. Hoberman)


  • projection time:
    43 min.
  • country/year:
    United States /1963
  • director:
    Jack Smith
  • pictures:
    Boris Missirkow, Georgi Bogdanow
  • production:
    Martiszka Bozhilowa, Thomas Tielsch, Velvet Moraru / Agitprop

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