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The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg
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For 25 years, Academy Award®-nominated director Jerry Aronson accumulated more than 120 hours of film on Allen Ginsberg, resulting in this comprehensive portrait of one of America s greatest poets, author of Howl and other groundbreaking poems. The DVD includes exclusive and revealing interviews with his friends, family and contemporaries as well as never-before-seen materials made public through the close friendship forged between subject and filmmaker. The film acts as a contextual overview of the last 60 years of American culture, from the Beat era through the uncertainty of current times.
- Exclusive Interviews; Making Of Featurette; Ginsberg poem readings; Further extended and deleted scenes featuring Bob Dylan, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady; Photo gallery; Theatrical Trailer; Memorial for Allen Ginsberg; and more
Splendid! A great American story --Los Angeles Times
A very rich slice of cultural history, lovingly presented. --Boston Globe
Top Customer Reviews
Also, Allen reads poetry to the camera for over 30 minutes, talks with Neal Cassidy in the basement of City Light in 1965 for almost 20 minutes, and reminisces with William Burroughs in 1984 at Naropa in Boulder, CO.
I can go on and on but this heartfelt collection made me want to read more of Ginsberg's poetry and remember a man who was truly a pacifist and helped make the world a better and more peaceful place. How we need that today!!!!!Here is a recent New York Times review on the DVD:
"The New York Times"
Jerry Aronson has augmented his crisp, straightforward 1993 documentary portrait of the poet Allen Ginsberg with six hours of extra material for this double-disc release, which now makes it a scholarly resource as well as a remarkably clearheaded study of a singularly complex individual.
Mr. Aronson's film follows Ginsberg from his middle-class upbringing in New Jersey through the media explosion that was the Beat movement, his role in the flowering youth movement of the 1960s and his last years as a devoted Buddhist and political activist.Read more ›
Ginsberg's ur-wound was the tragedy of his mother, a remarkable woman who sadly suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, was in and out of institutions during Ginsberg's youth, and finally died in one. As a boy, Ginsberg was frequently charged with her care. As his stepmother says in the film, he was exposed to way too much for a young boy to take in. His feelings of helplessness, frustration, impatience, love, guilt, and fear in the face of his mom's illness and increasingly bizarre behavior marked him for life. Thankfully, his relationship with his father Louis, a lyric poet, was one of tenderness, mutual respect, and deep love.
Ginsberg's unhappy relationship with his mother, as well as his genesis from beat poet to cosmic poet to Buddhist poet to grand old man of American poetry is tracked in the film. Especially welcome are the long and marvelous clips of Ginsberg reading his poetry: long sections of "Howl," all of "Kaddish," and others, sometimes put in music. There's also a clip from Ginsberg's appearance on Buckley's "Firing Line," in which the two men stood one another down. Lots of vintage still photography and cinema featuring the beat poets round out the documentary.
The one thing missing in the film was more than a brief mention of Ginsberg's lifelong relationship with Peter Orlovsky.Read more ›
At 84 minutes, the movie itself is but a snap shot of Ginsberg and his accomplishments. There is far more comprehensive material to be found if you are so inclined. There is nothing particularly noteworthy about the style of the film, it is fairly straightforward in presentation. Some areas of focus include the Beat Generation period and his development of friendships with William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. His rise to activism in the fifties and sixties gets solid coverage, his thoughtful challenges to the status quo and his connection with Timothy Leary are also explored. Perhaps the culmination of his protests occurred with the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. The film also addresses the personal side of Ginsberg including his sexuality and how that influenced him in his role.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film opened my eyes a bit more with regards to the talent of Allen Ginsberg. Mult-faceted man and certainly a vital part of the life and times of Kerouac.Published 4 months ago by J. J. Dennis
here's the deal ----> despite the statement on the box that the film-maker has collected some 120 hours of material over the years, the doc itself is a scant 84 mins. !!! Read morePublished 7 months ago by j publik
one of the most exhilirating documentary i have ever seen
nice guy, this nut!
six more words required? ok, here they are!
Item provided a lot of biographical data, but also included many excerpts of Ginsberg
reading from his poems, as well as anecdotes from his various friends and associates.
Intelligent, straightforward documentary tracing Ginsberg’s life and work and how the two intersected. Read morePublished on April 27, 2011 by K. Gordon
I met Mr Ginsberg briefly in Madison, WI, in the 60's; a gracious and centered individual, and extremely pleasant. Read morePublished on April 9, 2011 by R. Gawlitta
For anyone familiar with Allen Ginsberg's work, this set is a great introduction to his life and times. Read morePublished on November 30, 2009 by Erik C. Pihl
Recently I have been in a "beat" generation literary frame of mind. It all started last summer when I happened to be in Lowell, Massachusetts on some personal business. Read morePublished on September 13, 2009 by Alfred Johnson
This is quite an interesting perspective of Allen Ginsberg the man rather than the impact he had on wider society. Read morePublished on April 22, 2009 by Junglies