University of Delaware
"Burroughs: The Movie" will be shown at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the University of Delaware Library.

Feb. 26, 27: Burroughs films

University Library sponsors William Burroughs Centenary film showings


1:24 p.m., Feb. 18, 2014--The University of Delaware Library will sponsor the showing of two films related to the writer William S. Burroughs on Wednesday, Feb. 26, and Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Class of 1941 Lecture Room located on the first floor of the Morris Library. 

The two films are available from the Film and Video Collection located on the lower level of the Morris Library for viewing as well.

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Burroughs: The Movie (87 minutes) was the first feature-length documentary on Burroughs. Filmed by Howard Brookner over a five-year period and completed in 1983, it includes rare footage of Burroughs in New York City, St. Louis, New Mexico and Tangier, Morocco. It captures much about the life, work and sensibility of its subject. 

The film has been out of print for years but a newly restored version is scheduled for release in 2014 to coincide with the William S. Burroughs Centenary. It will be shown on Wednesday, Feb. 26, with identical showings from 10-11:30 a.m., noon-1:30 p.m. and 2-3:30 p.m.

Naked Lunch (115 minutes) is a 1991 film loosely based on Burroughs’ novel of the same title. It was directed by David Cronenberg and stars Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm and Roy Scheider. 

Set primarily in the Interzone of Tangier, the film is a hallucinatory account of the protagonist William Lee’s attempts to find a cure for his depression, drug addiction and writer’s block. It will be shown on Thursday, Feb. 27, with identical showings from 10 a.m.-noon, 1-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

Burroughs, often called the “Godfather of the Beats,” was the author of perhaps the most infamous novel in American literature, Naked Lunch. He was also an artist, photographer, performer, satirist and friend of Beat writers Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso and Ann Waldman. 

The character of Old Bull Lee in On the Road by Jack Kerouac was based on Burroughs. 

He was a close collaborator for many years with artist and writer, Brion Gysin who, with Burroughs, experimented with the “cut up” Avant Writing technique. 

As one of the original members of the Beat movement, the work of Burroughs influenced both American literature and popular culture. 

He was also associated with artists like Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and Laurie Anderson among others. His influence on popular music included rock musicians David Bowie, Patti Smith, Jimmy Page and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.

The library has “public performance rights” to show these films.

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