Star Spangled to Death (2004)

Star Spangled to Death is the magnum opus of the independent filmmaker Ken Jacobs. Begun in 1957 as a backyard bohemian romp starring the avant-garde legend Jack Smith the project grew over the years to incorporate huge chunks of appropriated material. Star Spangled to Death is like a sponge, absorbing into itself political advertisements, patriotic songs, home movies, television programs, soft porn, newsreels, early cartoons, and the delirious street antics of Jack Smith and Jerry Sims.
Though the film originally included more autobiographical sections than in the final cut, Star Spangled to Death easily lends itself to a broader experience. It is recognisable for the fears and concerns it invokes of a particular era that perhaps translate too easily into our own.

This film is a major event in the history of poetic cinema and at the same time, it's highly political: an exhaustive, sprawling history of America in the form of found footage and recordings, as seen through the eyes of those on the margins .
Six hours and forty-five minutes of obscure found educational and nature films mixed with 1950s street theater footage shot by the filmmaker and updated with anti-Bush thoughts and opinions from the past five years. That’s right, 50 years in the making.
Styles of editing and photography are mixed and matched, found footage sometimes plays out completely and other times it cuts back and forth with footage shot for the film.

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