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No President

Jack Smith
USA 1968 / 50’

Jack Smith’s last 16mm feature – austerely black and white, more an exercise in sensibility than craft – evolved out of his November 1967 program, Horror and Fantasy at Midnight. The surviving version of No President alternates scenes shot at Plaster Foundation with found footage – including a Lowell Thomas travelogue of Sumatra, a clip of an unidentified couple singing A Sunday Kind of Love, and newsreel footage of 1940 Republican candidate Wendell Willkie addressing the Future Farmers of America. The plot features the future presidential candidate (Irving Rosenthal) being abducted from his crib by a mustachioed pirate to be auctioned and sold on the block of a slave market. Smith’s hothouse childhood fantasies merge with entropic, harshly lit glamour scenes where the garishly costumed hobnob with the brazenly nude. As befits a political scenario, No President is rife with representations of the phallus-metaphoric and otherwise. Parker Tyler would hail No President as an even more daring exploitation of the themes in ‘Flaming Creatures’ and the Selection Committee for the newly-established Anthology Film Archives voted to include both in its canon of essential cinema.

J. Hoberman / Live Film! Jack Smith!

Jack Smith

the father of the Cinema of Transgression and the initiator of camp and thrash trends, has, since the 1950s, been creating anarchist films and performances inspired by Hollywood B movies. In his productions, transvestites and drag-queens radically manifested their sexuality. Smith made his movies purposefully violate all the principles of zero-style cinema. They inspired later generations of cinematic outcasts and experimenters. Smith was born in Ohio in 1932 and moved to New York in the 1950s. He began using film no longer independently but as a component of performances. His Midnight Performances often started as late as 2 a.m. and lasted several hours. In many of his LIVE FILM performances, Smith completely reedited the film material, integrating excerpts, slides, text, and music. After Smith's death as a result of AIDS in 1989, Jim Hoberman and Penny Arcade founded the "Plaster Foundation", which commissioned Jerry Tartaglia to restore his films.


1950–1966 Porządne istoty / Respectable Creatues (short)

1960 Przestymulowany / Overstimulated (short)

1962 Taśma klejąca / Scotch Tape (short)

1963 Płonące istoty / Flaming Creatures

1963 Normalna miłość / Normal Love

1963 Żółta sekwencja / The Yellow Sequence (short)

1967 Ziele z wyspy Technikolor / Reefers of the Technicolor Island / Jungle Island (short)

1967–1970 (1998) Byłam panem Yvonne De Carlo / I Was a Male Yvonne De Carlo (short)

1968 Bez prezydenta / No President

1969 Piosenka do wynajęcia / Song for Rent (short)

1970 Ujęcia bez tytułu / Untitled Film Rushes

1971 Północ w Plaster Foundation / Midnight at the Plaster Foundation (short)

1978 Sinbad z Bagdadu / Sinbad of Baghdad (short)

1979 Oszołomy / Hot Air Specialists (short)

Cast & Crew

director Jack Smith
screenplay Jack Smith
cinematography Jack Smith
editing Jack Smith
music Tony Conrad
cast Tally Brown, Jerry Sims, Irving Rosenthal, Mario Montez, Doris Desmond
producer Jack Smith
sales Gladstone Gallery
source of print Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst
language English
colouration colour & b&w