William S. Burroughs: A Man Within is a well-crafted, brand new documentary which attempts to open up the legendary figure and see what made him tick. Showing at the 54th BFI London Film Festival, Yony Leyser’s film is a riveting and emotional journey into the world of a man many considered as cold as an iceberg on a winter night.
When Howard Brookner lost his life to AIDS in 1989, the 35-year-old director had completed two feature documentaries and was in post-production on his narrative debut, Bloodhounds of Broadway. Twenty-five years later, his nephew, Aaron, sets out on a quest to find the lost negative of Burroughs: The Movie, his uncle’s critically-acclaimed portrait of legendary author William S. Burroughs. When Aaron uncovers Howard’s extensive archive in Burroughs’ bunker, it not only revives the film for a new generation, but also opens a vibrant window on New York City’s creative culture from the 1970s and ‘80s, and inspires a wide-ranging exploration of his beloved uncle’s legacy. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]