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Ornette: Made in America (12A) (LC)

Journeys across Afro-Futurism

Ornette: Made in America

Shirley Clarke’s portrait of jazz musician Ornette Coleman draws from his connection to the free-jazz movement and his reflections on time and space, to create a multi-layered, unconventional film.

Coleman’s soundscapes were jarring, built around opposing forces which threatened traditional conventions and approaches to jazz through a commitment to improvisation which he labelled “harmolodics.”

His connection to space-age technology is apparent through albums such as Tomorrow Is the Question!, The Shape of Jazz to Come and Science Fiction, to the point that NASA asked him to record compositions to beam into space. From here, Clarke jumps off to explore Coleman’s musings on space and his relationship to the cosmos, juxtaposing space missions scored by the musician with abstract visuals and performance footage. The combination of Coleman’s music and reflections on society, and Clarke’s impressionistic, free-wheeling editing, connects Coleman’s free-forming music with the magic realism and fascination with technology of Afro Futurism. 

US 1985 Dir Shirley Clarke

LC = Local classification

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