Posted 21 February 2009 - 09:30 AM
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the
starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the
supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of
cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels
staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkan-
sas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
Because if the second is the plan...my view is: why bother? It's astounding as it is. Film will just make it banal and mundane or sentimental. O woez! the 50s were all repressive 2 ART!
If the first--surely there was more to Ginsberg than this? But I may be alone in finding "biographical criticism" boring.
Posted 21 February 2009 - 12:33 PM
It is supposedly going to be a pretty varied affair that skips between different styles and film formats. It will also focus quite a bit on the obscenity trial. These two have done other fairly non-standard documentaries on homosexual figures in history.
Posted 21 February 2009 - 04:38 PM
So, pretty much the "O woez! the 50s were all repressive 2 ART!" then. I still say: read the poem. Out loud. In public.
Posted 07 November 2010 - 05:12 PM
That repression bit is part of it, but the public recitation aspect is also there in spades. If you are a fan of the poem, it is well worth filing through the film just to hear Franco's captivating rendition. I am still not at all sure what to make of the film otherwise. The narrative through line is mainly the Ginsberg/Cassady relationship in a timely rendition of the "it gets better" motif.
Posted 28 March 2012 - 10:41 PM
If I understood the notes at the beginning, the whole script was compiled from interviews and transcripts, so it's kind of a verbatim movie along the lines of The Arbor, except not nearly as engrossing or well-executed.
Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:21 AM
Think I'll watch this after I finish up Pop Skull, which we have no thread for, which we may soon, because it is blowing my mind. Like - the once every ten years kind of blowing my mind.
Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:31 AM
As noted, the best part of this is actually seeing James Franco blaze through the poem. Just beautiful.
Edited by Persona, 01 April 2012 - 11:31 AM.
Posted 14 May 2013 - 01:58 AM
I just caught it, and I'm still deciding what to think. The most impressive thing was how continuously it flowed. The four or five scenes it kept switching between--the interview, the trial, the reading in the cafe, and the animated sequences--allowed it to roll forward as the poem rolls forward, without stopping. Unfortunately the pace slacks off a good deal toward the end, and the conclusion of the obscenity trial, which was meant to be the dramatic climax, only shows how uninteresting the whole legal affair really was. James Franco's reading of the poem is very good, though a little out of order and cruelly abridged, with some of my favorite lines missing. Where's "incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind"? Where's "Moloch whose mind is pure machinery"? The animation was kind of cool. I didn't find any of it amazing, and that's too bad because Howl the poem is very amazing indeed.