Thursday, February 18, 2016

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within (2010)

Director: Yony Leyser

Writer: Yony Leyser

Composers: John Bellows, Devin McNulty, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo

Starring: William S. Burroush, David Cronenbert, Allen Ginsberg, Iggy Pop, Genesis P-Orridge, Patti Smith, v. Vale, Gus Van Sant, John Waters, Peter Weller

More info: IMDb

Plot: William S. Burroughs: featuring never before seen footage as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I'm only aware of what Burroughs is famous for through films but this is the first time that I watched anything on the man's life.  He's one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century and I can start to see why.  The film is a conventional biography doc with interviews from those who knew him and were inspired by him as well as archival film, photographs and audio (a lot of which is from his last years).  It's really interesting (from someone like me who was barely familiar with the man and his contribution to just about everything in the last fifty years).  The Oscilloscope DVD has a bunch of extras that will make this an easy purchase for WSB fans.  You get 3 deleted scenes, home movies (17 minutes), 2 minutes of super 8 film with WSB creating shotgun art,  another super 8 film of the band Sonic Youth visiting WSB in 1995 (3 minutes and with narration), Peter Weller and others at a 50th anniversary tribute in 2009 (15 minutes), WSB reading The Last Words of Hassan Sabbah in a music video Rub out the Word (3 minutes), Patti Smith reading Psalm 23 Revisited in WSB's old NY apartment (1 minute), a Q&A with the director at a film festival (12 minutes) and trailers for 3 Oscilloscope films (including this one).

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