A documentary on the life of the alcoholic writer Malcolm Lowry, interspersed with readings of Lowry's work by Richard Burton. Lowry was born and educated in England. He moved to Mexico in ...
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A documentary on the life of the alcoholic writer Malcolm Lowry, interspersed with readings of Lowry's work by Richard Burton. Lowry was born and educated in England. He moved to Mexico in 1936, where he lived near the volcano Popocatepetl, on an allowance from his father. There, between drunken bouts, he started writing his one important novel, "Under the Volcano" that takes place on the Mexican day of the dead. He takes eight years to finish it, writing most of it while living in a shack in British Colombia, Canada.Written by
Was Malcolm Lowry's death due to alcohol poisoning a deliberate act of suicide or merely "death by misadventure"? This is the question posed at the start of this Canadian documentary about the author of 'Under the Volcano' - an acclaimed novel that of course was turned into a film by John Huston in 1984, starring Albert Finney in the single finest performance of his distinguished career. While 'Volcano: An Inquiry' ultimately never answers the question it initially poses, the documentary provides a great insight into the way Lowry ticked through a combination of interviews with those he knew him and his lyrical prose read aloud, including excerpts from 'Under the Volcano' itself. This proves to be a very effective technique as Richard Burton reads Lowry's very descriptive writing in an appropriately moody manner, with the passages often juxtaposed to striking images, such as Day of the Dead celebrations and a hospital where Lowry spent some time. The way the camera creeps and glides around in these moments is an especially good touch. It is debatable how much interest the film will hold for those unfamiliar with 'Under the Volcano', but this works as a pretty good companion piece - and remarkably so given that it was filmed almost a decade before Huston's iconic movie.
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