Since the early days of television, Jerry Lewis has had audiences laughing at his visual gags, pantomime sketches and signature slapstick humor. Yet Lewis was far more than a jokester. A groundbreaking filmmaker whose insatiable curiosity led him to write, produce, stage and direct many of the films he would also appear in resulted in such adored classics as “The Bellboy,” “The Ladies Man,” “The Errand Boy” and “The Nutty Professor.”
Lewis’ filmmaking career prevented him from being pigeonholed as a comic performer and launched his reputation as a driving force in Hollywood. Pushing boundaries with his technical innovations, unique voice and keen visual eye, he soon garnered praise overseas, particularly in France among the cultural sophisticates.
While some Americans viewed Lewis as nothing more than an abrasive clown, Europeans recognized him as a true “auteur.” So just who is Jerry Lewis? Is he just another brash, attention-hungry buffoon? Or is he a creative genius?
In celebration of Jerry Lewis’ 90th birthday and his new picture on the way, Lewis and his friends candidly reflect on his remarkable life and decades-long career. Director Gregory Monro takes audiences from Lewis’ legendary partnership with crooner Dean Martin and his incredible rise to Beatles-like fame to his great love affair with the other side of the movie camera. Through his film, Monro invites us to rediscover Jerry Lewis as an influential artist, humanitarian and visionary — the man behind the clown.
The guest speaker for this film presentation is Nick Pinkerton, film scholar and journalist for Sight & Sound, ArtForum, The Village Voice, Moving Image Source and Reverseshot.com. An official selection of the Telluride Film Festival, this film is a documentary feature in English and French with English subtitles.
Buy tickets for “Jerry Lewis: The Man Behind the Clown” here. The ticket price also includes the showing of a 13-minute documentary short on photographer Yasha (Jack) Pashkovsky.