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A scathing portrait of the Hollywood/LA arts milieu of the late 70’s, Chameleon follows the amorphous day of its lead character, an Armani-jacketed peddler of high-class dope, fraudulent art, and preening postures suited-to-fit the changing victims, though as with all such fakery, the real victim in the long run is the person who lives such a life.

1978 | 16mm blown-up to 35 | Color | Sound | 90 minutes

Producer, writer, director, editor cinematographer : Jon Jost

With: Bob Glaudini, Nick Richardson, Lee Kissman, Kathleen McKay, Ellen Blake,
Norman Gibbs, Fox Harris, Lola Moon, Winifred Golden, Gene Youngblood, and others.

Shown at Taormina, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, US (now Sundance, Best of Fest, 1978; Edinburgh Festival, Deauville, Florence 1979; and others.

Broadcast by UK’s Channel Four, 1981






“Jost’s Chameleon cost a mere $35,000 to make (including the 16 to 35mm blowup) and is a triumph of artistry over budget. Jost’s day in the life of a lean, mean Los Angeles hustler (Bob Glaudini) is a cautionary tale about the self-destructiveness of American opportunism. The main character - hero or villain, according to taste - moves reptile-like through a land of easy-prey gullibility, sucking dry his victims and his own humanity alike. The film is packed with bold visual metaphors. When a gun is fired, the whole screen explodes into white; when the hustler changes his “act” for different clients, the screen, chameleon like, changes its colors. Chameleon is a nervy, intelligent, exciting advance on Jost’s last film, Angel City.”

- Nigel Andrews, American Film, 1979

“...but I also like the film because Bob Glaudini’s performance as Terry is absolutely riveting (why this man isn’t better known I’ll never understand) ; because Jost seems to have captured, more or less exactly, the kind of California life-style that makes a convention of the unconventional, and because Jost’s inventiveness, undoubtedly born out of necessity, has an irrepressible edge to it that stops pretension in its tracks. In a way he is the American Wenders, equally attracted to but critical of Hollywood prototypes.”

- Derek Malcolm, Guardian