William S. Burroughs: A Man Within
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In his later years, Burroughs would rather cantankerously refuse to be worshipped as a beat poet or early proto-punk, though his devotees here beg to differ. A Man Within may lack some cohesion between all the different segments that make up the life of William Burroughs, but in the end perhaps his life is one best told in snapshots. The DVD features many extras, outtakes, and other rare footage--all indispensable for any fan of American letters in the 20th century. --A.T. Hurley
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Being an 'outcast' concerned with 'otherness' (ie, NOT the straight & narrow path) and an interest in 'marginalized' beinghood (even 'alien') & unusual sexual practices IS ALL BURROUGHS...the man within, you might say. And yes, resultant of having no represented place in society growing up, and for him, well into adulthood. Find me one song on the radio that sings of same sex love (no, not 'Lola' by The Kinks), and maybe you can refute that, even today, the stigmas are strong. But he turned stigmatization into an artform. Or you might say, he took his poison & transformed it into the body of work we've now gained from him.
In any case, I've seen a lot of Burroughs, including the Commissioner of Sewers & Towers Open Fire, as well as owning some of his talkie CDs like Dead City Radio, and sure this film borrows plenty of footage from these, which 'real fans' would have already had exposure to. But I take it real fans don't mind seeing clips of those again & actually enjoy it quite a bit. I think this was a very cool documentary with some personal tidbits, both from stories told & home videos shown, which were quite rewarding.
I think it makes him look like a 'lost', 'soft', 'homosexual' 'alien', and not a writer; who he was in total.
I don't know why there was a hugely disproportionate amount of his personal life portrayed over far more important issued such as his writing? His important work? The BBC documentary was much better.
It's unfortunate this was the most popular film made about the man, an with what could have been with all the access they had, because it seems to have no grasp on any of his most powerful ideas... it's just a series of anecdotes, and usually irrelevant ones.
It's a blinkered adaptation of his life in TOTAL (are you kidding?). I think it says more about the director, to drag a great dead writer into his own patch of limelight, than about William S. Burroughs, one of the greatest American Writers of the 20th century.
Watch the BBC documentary if you want to see a better documentary. Or else get his books, listen to his readings and lectures, read his favourite authors, like Denton Welch.
It's a shame that there's not more archive footage of Bill himself telling his story (who really cares what Jello Biafra thinks?) but then it's a shame Bill is no longer around (though that would be pushing it). There was a BBC Horizon documentary in the mid or late 80s, which was almost entirely Bill himself, telling his story, fantastic stuff: --- some of that could have been good to include.
Having said that, there are still many great (new to me) clips of Bill in this film, and yes this is definitely a film worth seeing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This came in perfect mint condition. The dvd was captivating if your a fan you'll like this. It's definitely not something you find in just anybody's home. Read morePublished 11 months ago by courtney