The (Almost) Trial of Shirley Clarke

In 1961, Shirley Clarke finished directing her first feature film and debuted The Connection at the Cannes Film Festival to much acclaim.

Previously, Clarke had begun her creative career as a dancer before moving on to direct many well-respected short experimental films, such as 1958’s Bridges-Go-Round. Clarke had always aimed her sights high with her career and, despite the improbability of a woman directing an independent feature film in the early 1960s, she accomplished just that.

The Connection was originally a play written by Jack Gelber and performed by New York City’s Living Theatre in 1959. The plot revolves around a group of junkies waiting around one afternoon for their drug dealer to arrive.

Clarke had seen and loved the play, but it was her brother-in-law — theater critic Kenneth Tynan — who convinced her to make a film of it. Money was raised through Lewis Allen, a theater investor who wanted to move into producing films.
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

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