Uncommon Senses

Jon Jost’s 1988 essay film, also known as Plain Talk & Common Sense, is in effect his state-of-the-union address, shot largely during a drive across the country and back, and articulated through an impressive variety of means. Overall the message is pessimistic but honestly and meticulously arrived at, and the Whitman-esque rhetoric of America’s multiplicity is both used and critiqued in a highly original fashion. This sequel of sorts to Jost’s ground-breaking Speaking Directly lives up to its predecessor as a multifaceted self-portrait and as a highly nuanced political statement. Even if you don’t agree with what Jost has to say about the U.S. in the 80s, there’s a lot to chew on; the film offers a veritable workshop of ideas about filmmaking as well as precise applications of these ideas. (JR)

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