Burroughs: The Movie

Howard Brookner / USA / 1983 / 86 min
Sat 7 May, 22.00

New digitally remastered version. With an introduction by Tiers Bakker, editor-in-chief of art magazine De Nieuwe.

Burroughs: the Movie explores the life and times of controversial Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs. With an intimacy never before seen and never repeated, the film charts the development of Burroughs’ unique literary style and his wildly unconventional life, including his travels from the American Midwest to North Africa and the several personal tragedies that signed much of his life.

Directed by Howard Brookner, Burroughs: the Movie is the only feature length documentary to be made with the full participation of the legendary Beat writer. Begun in 1978 as Brookner's senior thesis at NYU film school, the film was then expanded into a feature film when the director managed to obtain 5 years of unparalleled access from Burroughs.

In addition to being a compelling portrait of a counter-cultural icon, Burroughs: the Movie is also an extraordinary record of the New York artistic scene of the late 70s and early 80s, with many of Burroughs’ collaborators and friends – such as Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, Francis Bacon, Herbert Huncke, Francis Bacon and Patti Smith - making appearances.
The sound and images of the film were recorded by two close friends of Brookner’s who would later build an impressive film career of their own, Jim Jarmusch and Tom DiCillo.

About the director

Howard Brookner (April 30, 1954 – April 27, 1989) was an American film director who directed two documentaries and one fiction film in his lifetime.

He directed and produced Burroughs: the Movie (1983), Robert Wilson and the Civil Wars on theatre director Robert Wilson (1986), and directed, co-produced and co-wrote Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) starring Madonna and Matt Dillon. He died in 1989 after a battle with AIDS, fought while making his final film.


“Bizarrely funny. […] Rarely a film is as well attuned on its subject as BURROUGHS”
– New York Times

“An extraordinarily intimate portrait of the man and his work”
– Eye On Film

“A wonderful biography.”
– Village Voice

“BURROUGHS goes deep, giving audiences an honest and real look at a genuine cult figure.”
–The Oregonian

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