‘William S. Burroughs: Commissioner of Sewers’, a film documentary directed by German filmmaker Klaus Maeck, was made back in 1991 and is a loving tribute to Beat icon William S. Burroughs. Maeck had previously directed him in a low budget film called ‘Decoder’, a low-budget dystopian tale of the government weaponizing emotion-killing muzak (sounds completely crazy and I’d love to get my hands on it).
This documentary takes the Burroughs aesthetic and attempts to create a film that reflects the writers sensibility – which is pretty chaotic to say the least – with Maeck taking interviews, readings, film appearances and paintings from Burroughs and cutting them up and reassembling them using all manner of video filters the 90s had to offer. So does it work? Well you’ll have to watch it for yourself. As Burroughs says during the film:
There is no such concept as ‘should’ in art. Or anything.
A cultural icon, a true original. If you’ve never picked up and read one of his books you should.
Via Open Culture
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