Sunday, 13 March 2011

Howl

I am currently involved in a project based around the Beat generation, I am specifically researching the works of William. S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. I have been creating imagery combining it with typography to eventually create a publication, which is a mixture between horror and paradise. I recently went to see the film Howl, which portrays the culture and obscenity trial surrounding one of Ginsbergs most famous poems of the same name. James Franco leads as Allen Ginsberg, and he is fantastic. Man of the moment Franco, really captures subtle mannerisms and idiosyncracies of Ginsberg and his recital of the poem is a really enjoyable and mesmerising aspect of the film. The portrayal of the obscenity trial was impressive and felt well directed. The poem Howl is split up into 4 parts including a footnote at the end, a series of animation sequences run alongside the poem. Although the animation was very well produced, I felt that in some ways it was far too literal in its portrayal of the poem and there seemed to be a few too many animation styles going on at once. It detracted from Franco's precise engaging recital of the poem in that the poem was portrayed almost word for word, far too many things going on and I didn't think it captured the essence of the poem. Franco was so convincing that the simple reading of the poem was enough, that doesn't mean to say that the animation was completely pointless, there were some very beautiful moments within the animation and perhaps if these were celebrated and given time to breathe and stand in their own right, this could have worked. I did still very much enjoy the film, and it definitely helped with my project to see the poem performed. Especially touching was the slideshow of real photographs alongside descriptions of what the beats went on to do; shown whilst Ginsberg himself spoke and then appeared at the end. Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

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