An idiosyncratic oddity which plays like a satirical documentary full of emotional truth, Shirley Clarke's The Connection is centered around eight drug addicts, who impatiently wait for their herion connection to arrive in a grungy, New York apartment. Jim Dunn, an aspiring documentary filmmaker, has cut a deal with the group of junkies- he will pay for their fix, in exchange for letting him document their experiences with heroin. Shirley Clarke's The Connection is far from an easy film to experience, being a piece of cinema that doesn't adhere to the established rules of the medium. It's grungy, bleak, and intent on forging its own path, one where narrative is inconsequential, with its main intent centered around transporting the viewer into the environment in which its subjects inhabit. These junkies, the perceived outcasts of society, give monologues and various diatribes about what they are thinking and feeling, as The Connection slowly humanizes them with its raw, unhinged style, tapping into their personal anxieties, emotions, and struggles, void of preconceived notions about these characters and how much of society views them. The use of jazz interludes which envelope the film are fitting for Clarke's experimental style, the improvisational nature where dialogue, camera-work, and story feel completely up-in-the-air, adhering to the raw, unabashed style of its subjects, the anxiety-riddled junkies who await their next fix. Much like John Cassavetes early work, Clarke's cinema verite style is a reminder of cinema's boundless nature as an artform, with The Connection not adhering to the established doctrine of filmmaking, focusing instead on expressing the look-and-feel of its characters, serving as a stark, yet stunning reminder of the unlimited potential of cinema where the rules of what is and what isn't cinema are merely a fabrication, created by those who don't recognize the ubiquitous nature of art. The Connection goes as far as to mock this idea of a clearly defined rules of cinema, with Clarke's film playing like a satire of documentary filmmaking at times, mocking Dunn, this documentary filmmaker, whose shows an inability to recognize the difference between subjective and objective reality, being a filmmaker who wishes to scope his subjects to create the narrative and story he desires, unable to recognize an observational, unobtrusive lens is paramount in exhibiting truth. Near the end of the film, Dunn himself writes off his documentary experiment as a failure, as Shirley Clarke's The Connection makes a profound statement about artistic endeavors, detailing how truth doesn't always adhere to a filmmakers vision, expressing how true artistic intentions must always be palpable and willing to adjust to the world which it chooses to document.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.