Skip to content

Directed by Howard Brookner

United States 1983 86 mins.

Brookner’s feature debut—which began as his senior thesis film at NYU with friends Jim Jarmusch and Tom DiCillo—is a devout, unflinching portrait of the late writer William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) shot and edited over several years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Burroughs, at the time teaching at City College but once again addicted to heroin after temporarily kicking the habit, leads us through old haunts. Interviews with Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Francis Bacon, and others also help peel back the layers of Burroughs’ persona for all to see. “Rarely is a documentary as well attuned to its subject.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times.