Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean

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USA | 2012 | 93 minutes | Matthew Mishory

April 5 - 7, 2013

This ravishingly poetic look at early years of James Dean presents an unflinching and honest exploration of the cinema icon's complicated sexuality and formative relationships. Director Matthew Mishory in person for Friday & Saturday shows!

Part portrait of a great artist as a young man, part love story, part exploration of the postwar Hollywood machine, writer/director Matthew Mishory's boundary-breaking film is set in 1951, as James Dean is driving with friends to visit the desert of Joshua Tree, California.

During the trip we experience a series of revealing, dreamlike vignettes of this pivotal time in his remarkable life, which show a man singularly focused on refashioning himself as the great American actor. The culmination of their trip is a series of illuminating confrontations that changes each of their lives forever.

"The movie is art...mesmerizing and sexy!" - Dave Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle
"An artful interpretation of Dean's pre-fame life-this portrait dramatizes it with panache." - Dave Segal, The Stranger

Plus: April 5-7
Special screenings of the James Dean classics Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden.

This program is sponsored in part by Aron Michael Thompson.

  • Director: Matthew Mishory
  • Principal Cast: James Preston, Dan Glenn, Dalilah Rain, Edward Singletary, Jr., Erin Daniels, Robert Gant
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 93 minutes
  • Website:
  • Language: English
  • Format: HDCAM