Program 6: Normal Love
Save with the purchase of three tickets or more with the 3+ Film Package! Discount automatically applied when adding at least three tickets to your cart.
A noted influence on Mike Kelley and Andy Warhol, among many others, Jack Smith was a consummate artist’s artist, and Normal Love is one of his most remarkable achievements. Made in the wake of his succès de scandale Flaming Creatures, the film is a dimestore fantasia, rendered in a palette of voluptuous pinks and greens. Smith channels the cult actress and camp touchstone Maria Montez while riffing on the iconography of old monster movies, resulting in a thoroughly stylized, Dionysian romp. “Normal Love,” the critic J. Hoberman once noted, “is sumptuous but static—in part because Smith never completed editing it. Rather, he exhibited Normal Love rushes and rough cuts through 1965, and thereafter showed excerpts in various combinations with different sorts of exotic musical accompaniment as a projection-performance piece. Thus, like Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished ¡Que viva México! and various Orson Welles projects, Normal Love’s extant 135 minutes can only exist as a presentation of footage.” Yet this footage is singular, and the images it contains—drag legend Mario Montez as a bejeweled mermaid lounging in a milk bath, revelers swaying atop a Claes Oldenburg cake—are not soon forgotten.