William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

William S. Burroughs was one of the most celebrated American authors of the second half of the 20th century, but he was nearly as famous for being the counterculture’s leading curmudgeon for close to 40 years. He was a friend and confidante of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac; however, Burroughs and his work never really fit in with the Beat movement. He...read more

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The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Dr. William Ayers, Diane DiPrima, Penny Arcade, Donovan, Dean Ripa (the world's largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller. The film investigates the life of legendary beat author and American icon, William S. Burroughs. Born the heir of the Burroughs adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned their decision in 1966, ruling that the book had important social value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century. William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. However, his friends were left wondering, did William ever find happiness? This extremely personal documentary breaks the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time. William S. Burroughs: A Man Withinis the first and only posthumous documentary about this legendary figure.

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