W. S. Burroughs Restored

Viruses are obligatory cellular parasites and are thus wholly dependant upon the integrity of the cellular systems they parasitize for their survival in an active state. It is something of a paradox that many viruses ultimately destroy the cells in which they are living…

– from “Virus Adaptibility and Host Resistance” by G. Belyavin, as qouted by William S. Burroughs in The Electronic Revolution: Feedback from Watergate to the Garden of Eden

“What we are up against: liars with no honesty or integrity or decency, just plain bastards…”

– William S. Burroughs, from Last Words

William S. Burroughs’ post-mortem existence is predicated on the maintenance of his mediated body, and one of his current hosts is in need of restoration. Howard Brookner’s documentary, Burroughs: The Movie, originally released in 1985 by Giorno Poetry Systems, has been out of print for quite some time. Long available only at a collectors price, and in the original VHS, Brookner’s nephew, Aaron Brookner, has created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the release of a digitally re-mastered version taken from an original archival print of the documentary:

“Our aim is to remaster and re-release the first long feature documentary ever made about literary icon William S. Burroughs, one of the most radically subversive figures of the 20th century and Godfather to Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, which has been out of print for almost two decades.

Burroughs: The Movie explores one of the greatest American writers and thinkers with an intimacy never before seen and never repeated, featuring Burroughs along with many of his contemporaries including Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, Francis Bacon, Herbert Hunke, Patti Smith, Terry Southern, and Lauren Hutton. The film was directed by the late Howard Brookner, begun in 1978 as Brookner’s senior thesis at NYU film school before expanding into a feature completed 5 years later in 1983. Sound was recorded by Jim Jarmusch and the film was shot by Tom DiCillo, fellow NYU classmates and both very close friends of Brookner’s.

Howard Brookner directed three films before his death in 1989 from AIDS at the age of thirty-four. In the final year of his life he wrote, “If I live on it is in your memories and the films I made”. It was this quote that inspired me, Howard’s nephew and enthusiastic Burroughsian, to search for the missing print of his first film, Burroughs: The Movie. After a long search I found the only print in good condition and embarked on a project to digitally remaster it and make it available to the public. I need your help to see this through. That’s why we are reaching out to all William S. Burroughs fans and all documentary lovers to lend this project a hand.”

Of course, as with any Kickstarter project, there are perks to helping out. Brookner is offering a number of incentives including “an advanced digital release of the remastered film, a special limited edition DVD of the re-released film for Burroughs’ 100th birthday celebration, and an exclusive bonus audio CD with never before heard audio recordings of William S. Burroughs and many of his friends recorded by Howard Brookner.

To learn more about the efforts to restore Burroughs: The Movie check out Brookner’s Kickstater campaign or follow via Twitter at: @howardbrookner


1 Comment on "W. S. Burroughs Restored"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Dec 16, 2012 at 9:09 am |

    hope Dr. Benway did the restoration

    A young man leaps down into the operating theater and, whipping out a scalpel, advances on the patient.
    DR. BENWAY: “An espontaneo! Stop him before he guts my patient!”

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