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Cinema, Photographers

The crazy Quilt – John Korty (1966)


“Henry indulged Lorabelle in some of her fantasies, ignored others — and gradually realized that what she wanted most was the impossible: a declaration of love.”


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An idealist (Ina Mena) attempts to cure her husband (Tom Rosqui) of his cynical realism, with little success.


When one thinks of the great American independent filmmakers who emerged in the 1960s, John Korty is likely not one of the first names that come to mind. An innovator who incorporated animation and non-narrative elements into his feature filmmaking, he was never radical enough to be considered part of the avant-garde cinema of Bruce Conner, Kenneth Anger, or Shirley Clarke. And it goes without saying that Korty has had a quieter career than his colleagues George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. Though they once all shared the same Folsom Street studio space in San Francisco, Korty eschewed his friends’ Hollywood ambitions, opting to stay in Northern California for a comparatively lower profile career in television, where he still enjoyed great success, his many achievements including Emmy awards for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) and Farewell to Manzanar (1976) as well as both an Emmy and an Oscar for the extraordinary documentary Who Are The DeBolts…and Where Did They Get 19 Kids? (1977).

While there is no denying Korty’s prolific and acclaimed track record, there is something particularly special about the early stage of his career. Before his move to television, Korty made three eccentric, under-the-radar features that he directed, produced, and shot himself—The Crazy-Quilt (1966), Funnyman (1967), and Riverrun(1970)—all of which are long overdue for a re-viewing and a re-appreciation. Now 75, Korty has entered a kind of golden era in his career, marked by his return to making personal documentary projects after a 40-year career as primarily a television film director. It is both a time to look forward (he is currently juggling a number of new projects) as well as back—he recently completed the first ever retrospective of his work in San Rafael, California and just self-released his debut feature The Crazy-Quilt for the first time on DVD.



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