Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Howl

My first film in this year Philadelphia's Qfest and I am so excited. Although after watching the first feature, my excitement was a little short lived. I would actually this film more as a docu-drama style rather than a full fledged commercial movie. But hey when have most gay movies been commercial anyway.

The basic plot of Howl takes an interesting look into the life of Allen Ginsberg. A new information to me, Allen was one of them most noted writers of today's time but this film shows what happened when he came out with his first set of poems Howl in 1957. Apparently when the poems were published and confiscated for its obscenity. A trial then started for the publisher of the book. The film is back and forth shows scenes of the trial where prosecutors argue about why or why not is Howl obscene or is it just a freedom of expression. We also see that Allen is being interviewed by someone and he shares with us moments of his life that brought him upto this moment where a trial is in progress. In Black and White, we also get to see Allen and the 3 men who entered his life as friends and lovers. Jack, his friend from college on whom Allen had always a crush on, Neal who was married but then also to some extent was loved and used to love Allen and finally with Peter in whom he found true love and they stayed with each other until death put them apart. The reading of the poems is also segmented throughout the film which is accompanied by animation that tries to give some meaning to the poem. Th film ends with the decision that the judge made for the trial in favor of the publisher that ultimately made Allen a name what he is today.

My thoughts are mixed on the film. Although the basic premise was good and the narration style was new and impressive (something I have not seen before), the poetry sometimes got a little too heavy. I personally have no interest in poetry and on top of that the poetry in Howl is too ambiguous for a common man to understand. The animation was good in the sense that it try to make sense of he poetry and give some idea to the viewers. The trial scenes are fascinating with the constant questioning by the prosecution as to what certain lines or words meant. The various literature advocates and professors who came on the stand and were faced with various questions did a fantastic job. The court room scenes were the only ones that actually held my attention the most. Performance wise I would say James Franco as Allen Ginsberg did a good job. Although the movie had him only either reciting poem or giving interview but the proceedings were made interesting buy his acting. All the other actors also did a pretty decent job.

The film is different, very different. Decide for yourself whether you like it or not. (4/10)

5 comments:

Chris Stevenson said...

I really like the poem and I'm really looking forward to the film. I'm particularly interested because it all happened in San Francisco of course :-)

Golu said...

Thats true Chris. If you have heard the poem and like it, then you would def like the film. Personally it was so new and different for me, it became a little too heavy for me

Pitbullshark said...

I had never liked this poem before and I must say that I still don't fully understand all of it (won't take the time to figure it out) but, like you, I really liked the courtroom scenes and think those were more to the point, because I think Ginsberg's poem was to that exact point, as well, not to write a great and wonderful poem, but to move the legal boundaries out as far as he thought he could, and THAT is something that I support and honor him for doing. And yes, James Franco did a good job, and I understood that he worked quite hard at getting a good grasp of Ginsberg's mannerisms.

Sadie Murray said...

I mean, it was a film about a famous and boundary breaking poem so I loved how it included his poetry. I loved the mix of his life story and the trial itself -- the three blended together well.

I simply wanted to add that Howl is not in any way a poorly written poem. I'm not even really a poetry person but I've read that poem so many times and it's honestly so beautiful the language that he uses and it's more than just about making a point, it's also writing this 'great and wonderful' poem. Which he entirely did, in terms of what he did for poetry and censorship and gay men but he did it because he had insane amounts of talent.

my favorite: "run down by the drunken taxicab of Absolute Reality".

This comment is super late but I felt like this page needed desperately some Ginsberg love (because he's honestly such a cool and talented person, in my opinion, that I greatly admire).

Golu said...

Thank you for adding your love. And no comment in too late :) The best part of my blog is when I love varied mix thoughts of people who come here and read this. Please do keep reading. Maybe I will read the poem again and it may just change my mind.