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Sinbad of Baghdad

Jack Smith
USA 1978 / 29’

In the late ‘70s, during the period of New York’s Super 8 no wave, Jack Smith announced plans for his own Super 8 feature, Sindbad in the Rented World, in which he would appear as the former dancing boy and aspiring radio personality, Sindbad Glick. This may or may not be the ‘Arabian Nights architecture film’ to which the artist refers in his 1978 interview with Sylvère Lotringer or the half hour assemblage that, labeled Sindbad of Bagdad, was shot that winter in Coney Island. A caravan of well-swaddled creatures, including a mother and baby, take up residence on the beach. Some of their costumes sport paper-mache phalluses. The mise-en-scène also includes miniature animals, empty bottles of Bali Hai wine, and an advertisement for Preparation H. These staged scenes are interspersed with vérité footage of summer crowds around Surf Avenue. Existing in scenario form but apparently unfilmed was the climatic roach stampede during which the Lobster in his final priestly disguise with the forehead earring of exoticism in his back pocket, is drowned in Plaster Lagoon.

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
producer Jack Smith
sales Gladstone Gallery
source of print Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst
language no dialogues
colouration colour