We haven’t been lacking in depictions of William S. Burroughs on the big screen in recent years with both Viggo Mortensen (“On The Road“) and Ben Foster (“Kill Your Darlings“) portraying the famed writer. But now a film thought to be long lost has resurfaced, giving fans and newcomers a window in Burroughs’ world via the gnarled Beat eminence himself. Today, the Playlist has an exclusive clip from “Burroughs: The Movie.”
Starting as a thesis project in the late 1970s at New York University by director Howard Brookner (with sound by Jim Jarmusch, and cinematography by Tom DiCillo), production on “Burroughs: The Movie” eventually spanned over five years, with the filmmaker not only logging plenty of time with his subject, but also with fellow travelers like Allen Ginsberg, Terry Southern, John Giorno, and Brion Gysin. However, when Brookner passed due to AIDS in 1989, his film was thought to be lost. However, his nephew Aaron Brookner uncovered the film, and now is bringing it to the New York Film Festival, freshly remastered from a 16mm print.
In this brief scene below, we see Burroughs discuss his daily writing routine in a film that chronicles his unique literary style and his wildly unconventional life, including his travels from the American Midwest to North Africa and several personal tragedies.
“Burroughs: The Film” premieres at the New York Film Festival tonight, will open at Anthology Film Archives for a weeklong run on November 14th, and will tour the country thereafter. A DVD/Blu-ray release through the Criterion Collection will follow in 2015.