Category Archives: CultCrit

“If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything.” – David Foster Wallace” DAVID FOSTER WALLACE ON AMBITION, PBS Digital Studios, 2013, 4.5min.

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WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS :: A MAN WITHIN, directed by Yony Leyser, documentary, 85min.

This particular video of the film is intact, minus the end credits.  Please see credits below.

Directed by Yony Leyser
Produced by Carmine Cervi
Scott Crary
Ilko Davidov
Yony Leyser
Written by Yony Leyser
Starring Laurie Anderson
Jello Biafra
David Cronenberg
John Giorno
Thurston Moore
Genesis P-Orridge
Iggy Pop
Patti Smith
Gus Van Sant
John Waters
Distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories

Notes about the film, from PBS’s Independent Lens:

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within investigates the life of the legendary beat author and American icon. Born the heir of the Burroughs’ adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems, and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned the 1966 decision, ruling that the book had important social value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Diane DiPrima, Dean Ripa (the world’s largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller, and soundtrack by Sonic Youth.

William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. But his friends were left wondering if he had ever found contentment or happiness. This extremely personal documentary pierces the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time.

THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, by Guy Debord, 1973, 88 min. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

La Société du Spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) is a black and white 1973 film by the Situationist Guy Debord based on his 1967 book of the same title. It was Debord’s first feature-length film. It uses found footage and detournement in a radical criticism of mass marketing and its role in the alienation of modern society. Continue reading THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, by Guy Debord, 1973, 88 min. “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”

THE LOST GENERATION: A&E Biography documentary, 2001, 91min

The Lost Generation is a documentary produced by A&E Biography in 2001.  It first aired on November 15, 2001.

The Lost Generation, in general, is the post-World War I generation, but specifically a group of U.S. writers who came of age during the war and established their literary reputations in the 1920s. The term stems from a remark made by Gertrude Stein to Ernest Hemingway, “You are all a lost generation.” This generation included artists and writers who came of age during the war such as F. Scott Fitzgerald,[1] T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Olaf Stapledon, Sherwood Anderson, John Dos Passos, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Djuna Barnes, Glenway Wescott, Waldo Peirce, Isadora Duncan, Abraham Walkowitz, Ezra Pound, Alan Seeger, Henry Miller, Aldous Huxley, Malcolm Cowley, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Erich Maria Remarque, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and the composers Sergei Prokofiev, Paul Hindemith, George Gershwin and Aaron Copland.

The documentary focuses on American expatriate writers living in Paris in the 1920s,including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Archibald MacLeish, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and John Dos Passos.

REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 3 OF 6 “TURN ON THE REVOLUTION”, documentary, 47min.

 Episode 3 of the 6-part canadian documentary series, “Rebels”,  by writer/director Kevin Alexander.  “Turn On The Revolution” focuses on the massive cultural shifts experienced during the 1960’s through the popularization of psychedelic drugs and an enhanced political awareness amongst the emergent youth culture.

In 1959 a twenty-six year old creative writing student named Ken Kesey became a guinea pig for LSD experiments conducted by the CIA and later used this experience to write “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.” Timothy Leary, a Harvard research psychologist turned rebel guru, told people to “Turn on, tune in, drop out!” while an anti-war activist named Abbie Hoffman led a peace demonstration at the 1968 Chicago democratic convention. This film delves into the world of hippies and yippies; young people who put themselves at risk in pursuit of “perception” and democratic freedom.

Continue reading REBELS: A JOURNEY UNDERGROUND, EPISODE 3 OF 6 “TURN ON THE REVOLUTION”, documentary, 47min.