Director Howard Brookner died of AIDS in NYC in 1989 while in post-production on his breakthrough Hollywood movie. His body of work has been buried for 30 years in William Burroughs' bunker...
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Director Howard Brookner died of AIDS in NYC in 1989 while in post-production on his breakthrough Hollywood movie. His body of work has been buried for 30 years in William Burroughs' bunker until his nephew Aaron unearths his uncle's story and the memory of everything he was.Written by
Pinball London Ltd
A Change is Gonna Come
Written by Sam Cooke
Performed by Otis Redding
Published by ABKCO Music & Records Inc., Courtesy of Warner Music UK Ltd. See more »
Searching celluloid for what remains
Going into this documentary, I don't think I had researched it as much as the other films I've picked to screen at SIFF 2016. I must've just seen "William Burroughs" & "Jim Jarmusch", threw my hands up & exclaimed, "That does it! I must see this!". Needless to say, the subject matter went above & beyond my simplistic expectations. While this is a movie about a nephew (Aaron Brookner) trying to piece together the life & works of his uncle, filmmaker Howard Brookner, it is also a movie about something much deeper & broader. While it was a delight to watch clips & outtakes from Howard Brookner's film Burroughs: The Movie, moments from home movies of Brookner's family, and follow the present-day storyline of Aaron Brookner delving into storage lockers, picking the brains of his uncle's friends, and trying to pry reels of film from the caretaker of Burrough's Bowery apartment "The Bunker", the real meat of the film was a much more poignant tale. In the smaller scope, it is a tale about what one man could accomplish in such a truncated life--about living to the fullest & doing what makes you happy, regardless what those around you may think. It is about a life cut short by AIDS. In the broader sense, it is an open-ended question with no possible answer--what did we, as a society, lose because of the AIDS crisis? While I cried tears of sorrow for a talent like Howard's taken too soon, for the palpable lasting sadness of his family & friends, for the anguish of those around me who lived through this and lost their loved ones & partners, I also cried tears of anger. What if those in power had taken this epidemic more seriously & much sooner? Would we be watching a retrospective of Howard Brookner's work made up of 15-20+ movies & not just 3? Could our culture have been guided towards acceptance of all our beautiful variations & colors more gracefully if a generation of thinkers, artists & unique souls had not been ravaged by this outbreak? It is impossible to inventory the scope of such a loss, unlike the boxes of celluloid rotting in a Bowery basement--but indeed, it is a profound loss that can never be recovered.
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