An exploration into the life and art of the renowned author of "Last Exit To Brooklyn" and "Requiem For A Dream." Hubert Selby Jr., a self-described "scream looking for a mouth," against ... See full summary »
An exploration into the life and art of the renowned author of "Last Exit To Brooklyn" and "Requiem For A Dream." Hubert Selby Jr., a self-described "scream looking for a mouth," against all odds, reached international acclaim with his controversial novels. His is a classic story of the great American novelist, overcoming tuberculosis, drug addiction and financial ruin, Selby eventually triumphed in his life and penned seven of the most remarkable and distinctly American books ever written. Written by
The title is taken from page 103 of Selby's novel "The Demon". The slash is included in Selby's typography. See more »
Hubert Selby Jr.:
The writer has no right to be there in the work. I don't have any right to impose myself between the people I'm creating on the page and the reader... and that, the responsibility of the artist is to transcend the human ego.
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Hubert Selby is the author of "Last Exit to Brooklyn" and "Requiem for a Dream". Michael W. Dean and Kenneth Shiffrin have done a great service by shedding illumination on the history of this author and the importance of his work.
Dean and Shiffrin create a documentary that allows Hubert Selby's story to unfold in heart- breaking and fascinating detail, using a combination of interviews, historical footage, and video of Hubert Selby himself during the final period of his life.
The author is shown in an emaciated state, struggling for breath, near death. It seems both ironic and remarkable, then, that the film is able to present Hubert Selby as a true survivor. Selby survived childhood tuberculosis, (according to the film, he was the only one in his hospital ward who DID survive). He survived a stint in the military. He survived heroin addiction. He survived mental illness. He survived an obscenity trial for his writing. At age 40, he found himself alive, sober, and impoverished. At the end of his life, at age 75, he found himself in the position of a revered author, influence, and inspiration to several generations of creative individuals. He had gone from being the subject of a witch-hunt to the subject of academia. He himself had become a university professor, teaching almost until the time of his death.
The film is narrated in a low-key manner by Robert Downey Jr, who may have found something to relate to in Selby's personal struggles.
Selby emerges as a true genius; bending, modifying, and creating his own systems of language to more appropriately and precisely express himself. It's satisfying and just to have his life and work documented by this thoughtful and well-crafted film, at the time of his passing. I hope "HUBERT SELBY JR: IT/LL BE BETTER TOMORROW" serves as a catalyst to create further interest in this fascinating artist.
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