Homecoming is the best film of 2004. Dennis Grunes
The Jon Jost Retrospective at the Clinton Street Theater, Jan. 14 – 18, contains two Oregon films.
The first, Homecoming, is about a family living through the Iraq War on the Oregon Coast. It screens tonight in a double feature with Slow Moves (1983).
Here’s Jost’s description of Homecoming:
HOMECOMING has no “stars,” it has no glossy “production values” and naturally it has no PR budget, no posters, or all the other paraphernalia of a “real” movie. It has, hopefully, something else which cannot be bought for millions, just as it cannot be sold for millions.
Here’s Dennis Grunes assessment :
I hate the term “experimental filmmaker,” because it makes Jost and other filmmakers whose work I cherish sound like mad scientists trying willy-nilly to see what works on screen. Like Chaplin, Ford and Welles, Jost is an expressive artist. As is his wont, for Homecoming he has marshaled an artillery of distancing devices that (properly) undermine the narrative flow and the capacity of films to lull the viewer into a comfortable, cozy feeling. No one could ever mistake his work for that of Spielberg or Zemeckis. Jost wouldn’t be caught dead flattering our vanity, or his own, by encouraging in us, his audience, simplistic, self-congratulatory responses. He doesn’t make films in order to manipulate us; he makes films in order to express his ideas, his way of seeing things, so that he can share these with us. (Manipulating, sharing: two opposite motives in filmmaking.) Jost doesn’t want us to be drawn into his scenes of family crisis inHomecoming; he wants us to stand sufficiently outside, and be sufficiently alert, to grasp these scenes of crisis. Rewarding, his art is also stringent, demanding.
I hereby claim Homecoming as an Oregon film, based on the location shooting in Newport and a cast filled with Oregon actors.
Jon Jost wrote about the Jan. 15 screening of Homecoming at the Clinton Street here.