Speaking Directly is an essay-film making for a kind of State of the Nation address, from the perspective of someone other than the President of the United States, circa 1972-4. This film addresses both the political and cultural situation of the US at the height of the Viet Nam war, Watergate and its aftermath, and likewise addresses the personal life, in this context, of the filmmaker, at that time thirty years of age, recently out of two plus years in federal prison for refusal to accept military service.

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1973-1974 | 16mm | Color | Sound | 110 minutes
Producer, writer, director, editor cinematographer : Jon Jost
Shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival, 1975.
In the collections of MoMA, Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek (FdK), British Film Institute (BFI), Australian Film Institute, Portuguese Film Archive.
Broadcast by UK’s Channel Four, 1981





"I can think of no other film like it. As a radical critique of American in the early 70's it is as essential a document, in a way, as the collectively made Winter Soldier... although the experiences it bears witness to are distinctly different (Jost was imprisoned in Federal custody from March 1965 through June 1967 for draft resistance.)"

- Jonathan Rosenbaum, Film Comment

"Far and away the most inspired feature by the tenacious US independent Jon Jost, Speaking Directly is a reflexive film about Jost's attempt to make a reflexive film during the Vietnam War. Despite its importance, the movie has surfaced here only rarely during the decade since it was made."

- Jim Hoberman, Village Voice

"In the history of the American avant-garde, Speaking Directly stands as a remarkable achievement: between the currents of pure cinema and "committed" documentary/fiction, it asserts a deliberate primitivism, a return to the ideological roots of American radicalism. As such, it also bears comparison with Godard's Le Gai Savoir, another discourse on method which refuses to take for granted what we think we know."

- Ian Christie, Sight and Sound

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