Watch William S. Burroughs: A Man Within
- 1 hr 27 min
William S. Burroughs: A Man Within is a documentary film released in 2010 that takes an in-depth look at the life and work of the iconic Beat Generation author, William S. Burroughs. The film is divided into chapters, each of which explores a different aspect of Burroughs' life, from his early years as a young writer in New York City to his final days in Lawrence, Kansas. Throughout the documentary, we hear from a variety of people who knew or were influenced by Burroughs, including writers, artists, musicians, and friends.
One of the main themes of the film is Burroughs' relationship with his own sexuality. Burroughs was openly homosexual at a time when it was still taboo, and his writing often explored themes of sexuality and desire. The film delves into Burroughs' relationships with both men and women and how his experiences shaped his work.
Another major theme of the documentary is Burroughs' drug use. Burroughs was a heavy user of heroin and other drugs for much of his life, and his addiction is often seen as a contributing factor to the bleak, dystopian landscapes of his writing. The film includes interviews with friends and fellow writers who share their memories of Burroughs' drug use and its impact on his life and work.
Despite these darker themes, the film also highlights Burroughs' sense of humor and his ability to poke fun at himself and the world around him. We see footage of Burroughs performing his famous "routines," which often involved him reading aloud from his writing and improvising absurd stories based on cut-up technique.
Throughout the documentary, we hear from a wide range of people who knew or were influenced by Burroughs. These include fellow Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, punk rock icons like Iggy Pop and Patti Smith, and experimental musicians such as John Zorn and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore.
The film also includes rare archival footage of Burroughs himself, including home movies from his childhood and candid interviews from later in his life. We see him reading from his books, performing his routines, and even acting in a few film roles.
One particularly moving section of the documentary focuses on Burroughs' relationship with his own son, Billy. Billy was born to Burroughs' second wife, Joan Vollmer, who died tragically when Billy was just two years old. Burroughs struggled with guilt and grief over his role in Joan's death for the rest of his life, and the film includes interviews with Billy himself as well as with friends who witnessed the strain of their relationship.
Overall, William S. Burroughs: A Man Within offers a comprehensive and emotionally engaging portrait of one of the most important and controversial writers of the 20th century. It explores the many facets of Burroughs' life and legacy, from his radical writing style to his drug addiction to his impact on music and popular culture. Whether you're a die-hard Burroughs fan or simply curious about this enigmatic figure, this documentary offers a fascinating glimpse into his world.
William S. Burroughs: A Man Within is a 2010 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 63.