Now Showing

  Muenzinger Auditorium7:30 only  

Burroughs

Burroughs
Intro by Nile Southern

By respectfully minding the gap between Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs's experimental fiction and his real-life passions and traumas, biographical documentary Burroughs -- shot in 1983 with its subject's participation -- paints the artist as an elusive persona.

Director Howard Brookner defines Burroughs's fiction by its autobiographical elements and elliptical prose style, and establishes Burroughs's slippery character through his interview subjects' impressionistic, off-the-cuff commentary. Fragmentary asides, like the scene where journalist Lucien Carr regales poet Allen Ginsberg with his impression of Burroughs as a womanizing college student — " 'There's a thunder in my chest,' he'd say, and all the women fell to the floor" — are given as much weight as sequences where Burroughs tentatively explains the philosophy behind his Dada-esque "cut-up" style.

Likewise, the major players and events in Burroughs's life are not introduced or situated within a linear biographical narrative. In one scene, Burroughs matter-of-factly explains that he developed an interest in opium because he'd heard it gave users "strange dreams." Soon after that, Burroughs and Ginsberg hazily speculate on the circumstances that led Burroughs to accidentally shoot his wife Joan Vollmer in a game of William Tell. Ginsberg speculates that it was an assisted suicide, while Burroughs grumbles unintelligibly about a "malevolent spirit" that haunted him.

Burroughs's free-associative style allows viewers to enjoy tantalizing interview footage — like the scenes where Burroughs rambles about Wittgenstein's conception of human existence as a "pre-recording" — without necessarily understanding what he's saying. Come for the bawdy anecdotes, stay for the defiantly soundbite-proof rambling.

— Simon Abrams, Village Voice

Burroughs

Showing at Muenzinger Auditorium

USA, 2010, English, Color, 78min, DP, NR

remind me export to calendar recommend

Coming soon to the IFS

Henry Fool

Muenzinger Auditorium Henry Fool 
 Apr 1 

Sundance Film Festival Animation Shorts

Muenzinger Auditorium Sundance Film Festival Animation Shorts 
 Apr 3 

Hard to Be a God

Muenzinger Auditorium Hard to Be a God 
 Apr 4 & 5 

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $50. With the punch card you can see ten films (an $80 value), and get free parking validation for the Euclid Auto Park (an added $40 value). That's right, you pay $50, your friend gets something worth $120, and we get more people through our doors to watch great cinema.