Between the September release of Rob Epstein’s Allen Ginsberg biopic Howl and the forthcoming adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”, you’d be forgiven for thinking Hollywood’s Beat-era nostalgia had reached critical mass. But wait, there’s room for one more. Owing in part to The Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch (whose film company Oscilloscope gained the film’s North American distribution rights) William S. Burroughs, the other iconic member of the movement’s holy trinity, will receive the big screen treatment via William S. Burroughs: A Man Within a documentary by first time filmmaker Yony Leyser.
According to Leyser’s synopsis the film is comprised of “never before seen footage as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues…This extremely personal documentary breaks the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time. “William S. Burroughs: A Man Within” is the first and only posthumous documentary about this legendary figure.
If that’s not enticing enough the aforementioned “friends and colleagues” include Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, John Waters, Gus Van Sant, and David Cronenberg among others who promise to shed light on the writer’s enigmatic persona and work. Aside from the fairly straightforward Junky and Queer (grim explorations of Heroin addiction and Homosexuality respectively) Burroughs work is marked by ambitious experimentation in form, most notably in 1959’s Naked Lunch which I must admit I have read but didn’t fully comprehend.
The film is slated for theatrical release this Spring.
Indiewire via 24 Bit