Ken Jacobs is one of the most wildly creative and influential film artists and teachers in the history of the medium, and Kino Classics is proud to present this two-disc selection from his vast body of work (additional titles will be available digitally via Kino Now). Jacobs, born in Brooklyn, NY in 1933, studied Abstract Expressionism with Hans Hofmann before turning to filmmaking – where he became a prolific member of the underground scene, along with contemporaries Jonas Mekas, Jack Smith, and Stan Brakhage.
His early films use NYC as a poetic landscape (Orchard Street) and as a setting for Smith’s carnivalesque performances (Little Stabs at Happiness and Blonde Cobra – both preserved by Anthology Film Archives and presented in new 2K and 4K scans). Jacobs then started experimenting with found footage, expanding a five-minute fragment of Billy Bitzer’s Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son to feature length (restored in 2K by Museum of Modern Art), and went on to embrace digital tools - using stroboscopic effects to turn silent shorts and Victorian stereoscopic photographs into mind-expanding 3D investigations (Capitalism: Child Labor).
He continues to push the boundaries of the art form – as you can see with his hypnotically abstract Movie That Invites Pausing (2021). In addition to his landmark films, which have been honored by the American Film Institute, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, Jacobs (along with his wife Flo) founded the free film school Millennium Film Workshop, and he also helped create SUNY Binghamton’s experimental Department of Cinema in 1969, where he became a Distinguished Professor and influenced generations of artists and scholars.
- Orchard Street (1955, 27 minutes)
- The Whirled (1961, 19 minutes)
- Little Stabs at Happiness (1963, 15 minutes)
- Blonde Cobra (1963, 34 minutes)
- The Sky Socialist (1963-‘64/2019, 96 minutes)
- Window (1964, 12 minutes)
- The Sky Socialist: Environs and Outtakes (1964-‘66/2019, 47 minutes)
- Tom Tom the Piper's Son (1969, 115 minutes)
- The Georgetown Loop (1996, 11 minutes)
- A Tom Tom Chaser (2002, 11 minutes)
- Capitalism: Child Labor (2006, 14 minutes)
- Capitalism: Slavery (2006, 3 minutes)
- Movie that Invites Pausing (2021, 20 minutes)
*Booklet essay by film critic J. Hoberman
*Conversation between Ken Jacobs and film scholar Tom Gunning (Disc 1)