: : : The Source

Story

This documentary is a treat, a look at the beat writers that benefits not only from a wealth of vital source information, including interviews with major figures, but also from an abundance of intelligence and wit. Interspersed with clips of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and William S.  Burroughs are brilliant montages of clips that set the beats in the context of their times. The story of how the beats rebelled against American conformity in the 1950s is well known, of course, but this documentary manages to find fresh ways to relate their views on life and writing. Segments in which Johnny Depp, John Turturro, and Dennis Hopper portray, respectively, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs may strike some as extraneous, but the good performances redeem their inclusion in the film. As befits the documentary's title, The Source devotes considerable attention to the influence of the beats, and interviews with such notables as Ken Kesey, Jerry Garcia, and Philip Glass, performance clips of Bob Dylan, and news footage from the 1960s establish how the sensibility of the writers trickled into all of society. This is not only a fine introduction to the beats, but those who already revere them will find the profusion of material contained it to be a delight. --Robert J. McNamara

Cast

Johnny Depp
Dennis Hopper
John Turturro
Allen Ginsberg
Philip Glass
Robert Creeley
George Steade
David Amram
Ed Sanders
Gregory Corso
Ann Charters

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