What You Need To Know:
(Ab, FR, A/D, H, Ho, L, NA, PC, S) A fusion of Jewish tradition with Buddhism marks Ginsberg's personal pantheon; drug use lionized by Mr. Ginsberg & Timothy Leary, among others; humanist perspective; passing references to Mr. Ginsberg's homosexuality & his homosexual marriage; political correctness subtly reinforced by the offhand acceptance of his homosexual "union"; and, counterculture thought & practice.
In 1956, Jack Kerouac wrote “On the Road” and Allen Ginsberg wrote “Howl”–and the Beat Generation was on. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALLEN GINSBERG is the only authorized film biography of Mr. Ginsberg’s remarkably long career. The film is a retrospective of our recent generations told from the perspective of this counterculture poet, activist, pacifist, and quasi-Buddhist. His poetic style (displayed generously throughout the film in readings of his own works) is one that, while metered, is yet a stream-of-consciousness cacophony of sights, sounds and genuine emotional accessibility.
This documentary is probably not going to be widely distributed, so its impact will be much smaller than a mainstream movie. Its audience is likely to be either the already converted (to nihilistic agnosticism), or someone with an arts background auditing it for the historical value. The risk is more insidious–it is the continual chipping away of Christian foundations within the lexicon of American experience. In the passage of time, when Mr. Ginsberg is lauded for being a great poet, he will carry with him into history the baggage of his homosexuality and apostasy. Mr. Ginsberg warns at the end of this film, as a sort of obit, “Don’t follow my path to extinction.” Sadly, few will remember this; most will mythologize him instead.
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