Star Spangled to Death (1957)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental, Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Performance Art, Social Issues  |   Run Time - 393 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Aired in numerous formats for over four decades, New York underground filmmaker Ken Jacobs' assemblage of 16 mm fictional footage, public service announcements, and snippets of Hollywood films didn't achieve mainstream critical acknowledgement until 2003, when the New York and London Film Festivals premiered its definitive, six-hour version. Star Spangled to Death is an abstract, political-philosophical treatise on the contradictions of life in America in the latter half of the 20th century, using excerpts from other films and news footage to touch upon issues of race, religion, and warfare. In the filmed material that punctuates the "found" footage, two characters referred to only as The Spirit Not of Life but of Living (Jack Smith) and Suffering (Jerry Sims) share conflicting views on day-to-day existence.

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Keywords

archival-footage, capitalism, consumerism, culture [social culture], greed, morals, performance-art, provocative, race/ethnicity, religion, social-commentary, warfare, wealth