The Life And Times Of Allen Ginsberg

Proceeding by decades, this 1992 scrapbook documentary by Jerry Aronson about the great contemporary poet and activist is strictly routine as filmmaking, adhering fairly consistently to the sound-bite approach. But given the subject, there’s still a great deal of interest here about the life, art, milieu, and political activity of Ginsberg, including several readings (and singings) of his own work. I would have loved to have seen at least one of his wonderful musical performances of William Blake’s poetry, but on the whole Aronson’s decisions about what to include seem fairly judicious. Among those interviewed are Abbie Hoffman, Norman Mailer, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Joan Baez, William Burroughs, Amiri Baraka, William F. Buckley, and various relatives. (JR)

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