Self-Portrait (Yoko Ono film)

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Directed byYoko Ono
StarringJohn Lennon
Release date
  • 1969 (1969)
Running time
42 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Self-Portrait is a 1969 film made by the artist Yoko Ono. The film consists of a single 42 minute shot of the semi erect penis of her husband, John Lennon.[1][2][3]

Ono said in a 1970 interview with the film critic Philip French that "the critics wouldn't touch it".[4] French recalled in a 2009 article for The Observer that the screening for the press was held at a private cinema in Mayfair with Ono and Lennon present, and "Lasting some 40 minutes (it seemed like an eternity), it focused upon the unaided tumescence and detumescence of his member, reaching some sort of climax with a pearl-like drop of semen".[5]

The film was premiered at the Institute of Contemporary Arts ICA in London in 1969, alongside two other films, Rape and Folding. Ono's films Two Virgins, Smile and Honeymoon were also shown at the ICA on the same night.[6][7]

Ono attempted to film the critics' reaction to Self-Portrait at the Mayfair screening, to be used as part of a future split screen film with the critics' reactions shown alongside Lennon's penis, although the equipment used failed to record anything.[5]

Lennon later recalled the content of the film, saying that "My prick...that's all you saw. ...but it dribbled at the end. That was accidental. The idea was for it to rise and fall but it didn't".[2]


  1. ^ Janne Makela; Janne Mäkelä (2004). John Lennon Imagined: Cultural History of a Rock Star. Peter Lang. pp. 257–. ISBN 978-0-8204-6788-7.
  2. ^ a b Richard Smith (6 October 2016). Seduced and Abandoned: Essays on Gay Men and Popular Music. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-1-4742-8697-8.
  3. ^ Tim Walker (10 February 2011). "Abbey Road is Not My Memory Lane". The Independent. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  4. ^ Show: The Magazine of Films and the Arts. H & R Publications. January 1970. p. 50.
  5. ^ a b Philip French (5 February 2009). "Philip French on John Lennon". The Observer. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  6. ^ Show: The Magazine of Films and the Arts. H & R Publications. January 1970. p. 50.
  7. ^ Peter Doggett (17 December 2009). The Art and Music of John Lennon. Omnibus Press. pp. 230–. ISBN 978-0-85712-126-4.

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