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Larry Clark

Larry Clark

Larry Clark is a filmmaker and professor of film at San Francisco State University. Born in Ohio (where he was president of the Black Student Union at Miami University), he later drove to Los Angeles to enroll in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

With musical roots (his uncle was renowned jazz pianist Sonny Clark; his mailman father played sax and taught Latin dance, and his housekeeper mother sang opera), it’s fitting that his first feature, Passing Through (1977), is often cited as one of the best jazz films ever made. Featuring Horace Tapscott and his Pan-Afrikan People’s Jazz Arkestra and co-written by actor Ted Lange, it united a wide range of black artists. It had its world premiere at Los Angeles’ Filmex and went on to win the Special Jury Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival.

Clark’s second feature, Cutting Horse (2002) is a modern-day western about the ambitious dreams of struggling African American and Mexican American horse trainers.

Clark has received numerous awards, including the Locarno International Film Festival Special Jury Prize and the Oscar Micheaux Award for Cinematography. He travels the world extensively, often at the invitation of major film festivals and retrospectives.

Birthplace: 
Ohio
Education: 
UCLA, M.F.A. 1977

Filmography

Film Role(s) Year
Tamu

Tamu begins with the Malcolm X quote, “We don’t see any American dream. We’ve experienced the American nightmare.” In the film, a young African American man drives through South Central thinking about revolution, Malcolm X, racism, capitalism, and war in Vietnam. Midway through, the film switches over to the thoughts of a young African American woman who is thinking about revolution and Angela Davis. Tamu touches on themes of crime, drug use, and revolution.     

 

Director 1970
Hour Glass Hour Glass

A young African-American male rethinks his role as a basketball player for the white establishment as he reads the works of Third World theoreticians, such as Franz Fanon, in  Haile Gerima’s “Project One” film.

Cinematographer 1971
As Above, So Below (1973) As Above, So Below

A rediscovered L.A. Rebellion masterpiece, Larry Clark’s As Above, So Below comprises a powerful political and social critique in its portrayal of black insurgency. 

Director
Producer
Writer
Cinematographer
Editor
1973
Passing Through (1977) Passing Through

Eddie Womack, an African-American jazz musician, is released from prison for the killing of a white gangster. Not willing to play for the mobsters who control the music industry, Womack searches for his musical mentor, Poppy Harris. Larry Clark's film repeatedly turns to various musicians improvising jazz, leading a French critic to call it “the only jazz film in the history of cinema.”

Director
Producer
Writer
Editor
1977
Cutting Horse (2002) Cutting Horse

Larry Clark’s revisionist Western appropriates and reconfigures genre tropes to tell the emotional story of a man struggling to put things right in his life and in his community. Hired to train horses for competitive events in a town from which he was once exiled, his return gives him a chance at redemption.

Director
Producer
Writer
Editor
2002