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This film is a portrait of the passage of one year in the lives of some San Francisco friends, circa 1988 (before the dot.coming of the city), a slow marijuana hazed story which drifts like the fabled fog, encompassing the quirks and habits of a generation that made the city theirs, if only for a while. Very obliquely Rembrandt Laughing sketches the time and place, encompassing the AIDS epidemic, the casual sexual revolution, the debris of '68 lingering in the air. A quiet, very San Francisco comedy of life among a small group of friends. Rembrandt Laughing was improvised over the period of about a month by Jost and his friends, mostly acting non-professionals.

1989 | 16mm | Color | Sound | 100 minutes

Producer, writer, director, editor cinematographer : Jon Jost

Music: Jon A. English

With: Jon A English, Barbara Hammes, Jennifer Johanson, Ed Green, Nathaniel Dorsky, Janet McKinley, Roger Ruffin, John Powers, Kate Dezina, Jerry Barrish, John Bassett, Peter Machel

Shown at Berlin, Toronto 1989

Broadcast on WNET Independent Focus






"A masterful elliptical account of a little over a year in the lives of a few friends in San Francisco... with a warmth, philosophical depth and overall sense of relaxation new to Jost's work. One of the ten best films of 1989."

- Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

"Rembrandt Laughing ... a joy, a gem, a tissue paper tracing of epiphanies."

- Amy Taubin, Village Voice

"Devotees of director Jon Jost will uncover profundities in every scene; those who aren't so taken by Jost will scratch their heads and wonder what all the shouting is about."

- Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

" I cannot say that I am able to follow all the plot elements of Jon Jost’s Rembrandt Laughing. Jost himself has explained that..."

- Dennis Grunes's review. Read more