For more than 20 years, Jerry Tartaglia has worked on restoring, preserving and exhibiting the film legacy of New York underground legend Jack Smith. Beneath the glitter and the camp in Smith’s films, photographs and performance art lurks a biting political satire, born from the alienated sensibility of a queer American artist and liberating cinema from the straightjacket of good technique and appropriate behaviour. Now, with Escape from Rented Island, Tartaglia assembles a loving film essay about the artist’s life, work and impact. Mirroring Smith’s own guerrilla style and eschewing a rational, linear and detached explanation of his art, Escape from Rented Island compels viewers to experience the aesthetic choices behind the work of this pioneering and underappreciated artist.
“An eccentric presentation of rare materials that will please the artist's most devoted followers.”