In conjunction with Tongues Untied, Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA presents Jack Smith’s 16mm masterpiece Flaming Creatures (1962–63). Despite its humble production values—derided in the Congressional Record as “five unrelated, badly filmed sequences”—this excessive celluloid celebration of polymorphous perversity was instantly recognized as a major achievement of the New American Cinema. Famously, it was just as quickly condemned by right-wing politicians; banned, seized, and censored in a number of countries, Smith’s little stab at “moldiness” was eventually considered by the Supreme Court. Smith himself always insisted the film was a comedy.
Flaming Creatures was previously presented at MOCA in coordination with Roy Cohn/Jack Smith, a solo theater piece performed by Ron Vawter in 1992. The screening will also feature Smith’s earlier Scotch Tape (1959–62), shot on location in a rubble-strewn landscape that would later become Lincoln Center, and I Was a Male Yvonne DeCarlo (1967–70s), an unruly assemblage which has been rarely screened.