Friday, April 25, 2008

Maria Beatty - "Gang Of Souls: A Generation Of Beat Poets" DVD

This digital reissue of a 1989 New York TV program attempts to cover the history and motives behind the highly inspirational literary movement of the late 50's through 60's, and in 60 minutes, it really just barely scratches the surface. With precious little archival footage, Beatty's film is really a bunch of talking heads. She interviews some key figures (William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsburg, Gregory Corso, Diane DiPrima, and later 'children of the beats' like Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch, Jim Carroll, Richard Hell, Marianne Faithfull, and others), and they surely have lots to say, but still, I can't help but feel there could've been so much MORE. It's always great to see now-passed artistic giants like Burroughs or Ginsburg interviewed, of course, and Rollins is a consistenly great character and presence, but this alone can't carry this film. In actuality, 'Gang Of Souls' would make for a fun little 'bonus feature', added-on to a more comprehensive documentary (and I know there are some out there), but for now, unless you're doing some deep research into this scene and movement (or are a major fan/collector of an artist included here), this one's a wee bit lacking. (MVD Visual)

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