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TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews14 June 2009
This is an interview, of sorts, with Burstyn asking Selby questions, and through this do we get an intimate and interesting look at him and his works, and exactly why they are the way they are. As a nice and welcome change from the other special features that hold moving pictures and deal with Aronofsky's films, this doesn't have him commenting on what we see as it appears on screen(although, granted, the only one of those that were actually bad was the "making of" on Requiem for a Dream, found on the DVD of it, along with this). Instead, this is twenty minutes of mainly Hubert talking, and he is wonderful to listen to. Smart, sensitive and, as sappy and cliché as it sounds, a genuine inspirational story. Editing is subtle, as it should be. Cinematography is what one would expect... and kudos to them for not trying to do anything other than that, as it would probably simply take away from the conversation. There may be a few instances of strong language, I wasn't certain. I would say that those who have read the man's books, as well as those who haven't looked at a single such page(and that, for now, includes yours truly), can get a lot out of watching this. I recommend it to both groups. 8/10
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"Dying became a way of life . . . "
oscaralbert26 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
. . . states little-read author Hubert ("Laughing Prison Guard") Selby, Jr. to interviewer Ellyn ("Sara Goldfarb") Burstyn during REQUIEM FOR A DREAM: MEMORIES, DREAMS & ADDICTIONS. This, Selby says, is because at age 28 he had to have 10 of his ribs removed after contracting tuberculosis while serving in the Merchant Marines in World War Two. (TB used to kill loads of folks, according to Gramps, whose uncle's father had to live in a separate cabin 50 yards from the Big House with separate dishes and utensils due to TB, and whose nearest community college used to be the grounds of a "TB sanitarium"--you can read all about this sort of place in Thomas Mann's novel "The Magic Mountain"--but then they discovered Penicillin on some moldy bread, but not soon enough for Selby.) "I just get overwhelmed by the Pain of Living," Selby continues, because he was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck (causing "brain damage"). Amazingly, this interview takes place when Selby--who looks at least 90 years old if a day--says his MOM is still alive!! "I don't have any natural abilities," says 9th grade graduate Selby. "It's easier for me to write about Darkness than Light, because I know more about Darkness." A published author of four books including REQUIEM FOR A DREAM at the time of this interview, Selby concludes "I've always been a frustrated preacher."
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A strange 'interview' but the affable and thoughtful Selby is worth just sitting and listening to
bob the moo10 October 2004
In a house by the beach, Ellen Burstyn sits with the author of 'Requiem for a Dream', Hubert Selby Jr for a chat about him and his life, all with the relaxed air of two people just talking candidly. To call this an interview is to give it too much structure because both people are just chatting away, although the direction is mostly towards Selby while Burstyn only chats at the start and tends to listen for most of the short film. It has very little structure and doesn't go into much in the way of factual information but it is still very interesting.

The main reason for this is the contribution from Selby. Burstyn maybe helps relax him a bit with her personable approach (of course the two knew each other well from the shooting of the film) but it seemed that Selby didn't need much in the way of encouragement to really chat and open up. Of course, he could have been very specific and talk about his work and life but instead he is more rambling, more about themes and feelings than he is about times, places or facts. This really helps the short film because it does feel like you're sitting at the feet of someone really interesting and just listening to their thoughts and inner workings. I would struggle to give you facts about his life but, my gosh, it was interesting just to listen to him. His down to earth personality stops him ever sounding (or being) pompous of full of himself. Instead he seems to have a real grip on what he is saying and he is effortlessly interesting where many of us would struggle to put our thoughts into words without being a) boring, b) pompous or c) both.

Overall this is a strange extra to find on the DVD but it is worth seeing. When it finishes you will not be able to tell anyone more than a few facts about Selby but you will have spent 20 minutes having your brain stimulated by his words. He is an interesting man and is well worth listening to and my only complaint was the abrupt manner that the film suddenly ends.
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