No Man’s Zone: An Interview with Jon Jost

Jon Jost is a self-taught, no-budget filmmaker, who rose to prominence with the release of his terminal road movie ‘Last Chants for a Slow Dance’ in 1977 which was hailed as ‘powerful’ and ‘provocative’ by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum and is featured in the bestselling omnibus ‘1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die’. Jost has since continued to direct films for more than four decades, exploring a wide range of American issues. His films have been presented at retrospectives around the world from New York City to Jerusalem and can be purchased through Vimeo or by contacting Jon directly at


F: While you also work in painting and photography, what attracted you to film as your primary outlet of self-expression?

Jon: I have no idea. As a young kid/child had no particular interest in film, nor did I on going to college (IIT, Chicago, 1960). I studied architecture and realised in short order that it was “a business” and I would never fit in. One year. Then I studied design/art, saw a few experimental films, and at the end of the Cuban missile crisis, during which with my friends I smoked lousy weed and drank equally lousy red wine and waited to be incinerated, I suddenly decided to buy a Bolex, go to Europe and make films. I spent a month looking at European and Japanese and old Hollywood classic films, some experimental, and went to Milano where in January-February 1963 made my first film. I have no idea why, and these days I sort of regret it, though I still make them

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