Flaming Creatures

45 minutes 1963

Forget everything you might have heard about Jack Smith's legendary bisexual, orgiastic, superlow-budget experimental masterpiece (1963)—a lot more is going on here, artistically and otherwise, than either Jonas Mekas or Susan Sontag ever suggested. This jubilant, celebratory film holds up amazingly well; despite its notoriety and censorship during the 60s, it's more than just an orgy of nude and seminude male, female, and transvestite bodies. The camera and even the cheap hothouse decor participate in the joyful free-for-all, suggesting both the privacy of a Josef von Sternberg wet dream and the collective force of a delirious apocalypse. But the simplest way to describe it is to call it a vision.

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