Naked Lens BOOK review

Book Reviews
Naked Lens BOOK review
Mar 15, 2002, 15:20

NAKED LENS: BEAT CINEMA by Jack Sargeant; Creation Books, 2002

Another worthwhile effort from the reliable Jack Sargeant. While this covers a wide range of talents, the best work contained here is the in-depth look at Kerouac's Pull My Daisy, his semi-autobiographical short film, done with Albert Leslie and Robert Frank. Not only is the film dissected nicely, there are interviews with each of the filmmakers, whose falling out after this production is an interesting (and contradictory) story unto itself. After a far too short look at Conrad Rook (a true character who could be a subject of a fascinating book all by himself); along with chapters on Cassavetes, Jack Smith—whose Flaming Creatures might be THE quintessential Beat movie—and lesser knowns like Taylor Mead and Jonas Mekas, the book spends the rest on the work of William Burroughs. This includes Cut Ups and Towers Open Fire as well as the adaptations of Burrough's work, predominantly Naked Lunch by Cronenberg. This has excellent interviews with Byron Gysin and an account by Genesis P-orridge on his becoming the “archivist” for all the cinematic works of Gysin, Burroughs, Ian Sommerville and Anthony Balch. Also of note are the appendices, which seems to be the updated portion of this book originally published by Creation in '97. Great looks at Gus Van Sant, Beatnik exploitation movies and many other odds and ends. In closing, Sargeant continues to be the cornerstone of this series.

-Les Scurry

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