Plain Talk is a complex essay-film, a follow-up a decade and some years later to Speaking Directly, and so another State of the Nation discourse, made for Britain's Channel Four in the year 1986-87. The work involved extensive travel around the United States, and poses an examination of just what America is/was, or what do we mean when we speak of it. Done in a series of radically different sections which collide with each other in a manner intended to provoke thinking, Plain Talk, which was made by an American and intended for American viewers, was indeed broadcast in Britain, but somewhat predictably, not in the USA.

1987 | 16mm | Color | Sound | 110 minutes

Producer, writer, director, editor cinematographer : Jon Jost

Music: Jon A. English

Selected for the Whitney Biennial, 1987; shown at Berlin, London, Yamagata, and many other festivals.






"No filmmaker could be more in the American grain than Jost, and Uncommon Senses proves to be a stunning experience, a totally original and challenging essay on America."

- Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"Plain Talk and Common Sense is Jost's most successful film yet - a movie of expansive negativity, that putting patriotism under erasure, proposes to represent America and then revels in its inability to do so."

- J. Hoberman, Village Voice

"Funny, sinister and engrossingly watchable, it's a surprising and accessible success for a director notorious for his low-budget minimalism. And despite his complaint that the words have been hijacked by the loony right, it could only have been made by a patriotic American."

- John Gill, Time Out, London


"The following is one of the entries from my 100 Greatest English-Language Films list, which I invite you to visit on this site if you haven’t already done so."

- Dennis Grunes's review. Read more