First Run Features has acquired all US rights to Submarine Entertainment’s “Paul Bowles: The Cage Door is Always Open,” from director Daniel Young. Canadian rights have gone to Films We Like. A release will be coordinated between them and First Run Features later this year. The film recently screened at the Berlin Film Festival.
The film is based on interviews with Bowles done shortly before his death in 1999. The documentary takes a look at the pre-Beat writer who echewed the spotlight to live in North Africa with his wife Jane. The film also features Jane Bowles, Gore Vidal, John Waters, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ira Cohen, Edmund White, William Burroughs, Francis Bacon and others. More on Bowles below.
First Run Features’ Marc Mauceri states: “Paul Bowles has remained an enigmatic, esoteric figure decades after the publication of his greatest work, ‘The Sheltering Sky.’ Perhaps this explains our endless fascination with not only his art, but also the near-mythic quality of the life he created for himself half a world away. Young’s superlative film captures Bowles at his most captivating, revealing the heart and soul of this one-of-a-kind artist.”
The fact that Paul Bowles is less well known than fellow writers like William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg or Jack Kerouac may be because, after pursuing a nomadic lifestyle at the beginning of the 1950s, publicity-shy Bowles decided to settle in Tangiers, Morocco. There, far away from the hurly-burly of the literary world, the town became a permanent home for this homosexual writer and composer and Jane, his lesbian wife. Bowles’ austere, almost Calvinistic view of humankind and the psyche, as well as his outright refusal to subscribe to the zeitgeist, distinguished him from other Beat Generation writers throughout his life.