Written by: Carroll Jenkins on April 14th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2015
Director: John Aes-Nihil
Writer: John Aes-Nihil
Cast: William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Leonardo DiCaprio
DVD released: April 14th, 2015
Approximate running time: 70 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Cult Epics
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
A so-called documentary by “director” John Aes-Nihil (Manson Family Movies) that is actually little more than some home movie footage of Burroughs in his last decade. So as not to be boring beyond belief, the three basic sequences are divided into various parts to break the monotony a bit. These are: footage of a reception for his 1988 – 1996 artwork exhibit augmented with shaky hand-held footage of paintings in the exhibit; of his last public appearance; and of a conversation in his home conducted while the dream machine spins incessantly.
That is the second focus of the movie, the dreamachine. During the opening credits it is displayed with discordant music and then we the viewers are bid to close our eyes. Since there is no verbal instruction to reopen them, perhaps that is the best course of inaction – just keep them closed. You are thus more likely not to fall asleep than if you actually watch the ‘feature’ presentation.
There is additional footage featuring Dr. Woodward blandly citing poetry from different takes which are incessantly cut back and forth like a really bad porn movie. One occurs in a crowded and noisy pub which is highly irritating, and another in the site of a demolished home that was probably done by someone having to watch the other footage in it’s entirety. Add a wee little bit of home footage of building a dreamachine, and that’s the movie.
Some footage is black and white, some is in color. Sound quality is consistently horrible due to the original ambient noise; some unintentional and some on purpose. The extras include a segment filmed in Germany of Woodward and an interpreter taking turns reading poetry [the same as in the main feature] while a small museum audience attempts to space out with the dreamachine.
You must be a diehard fan of both William S. Burroughs and the dreamachine for this offering to possess any merit. Just ask Leonardo DiCaprio – he appears momentarily grinning ear to ear as he takes home video of the reception. His results could feasibly be more interesting than Aes-Nihil’s.
WARNING: the dreamachine is all about strobe-like flickering, and it is depicted over and over again (ad nauseam). If you are sensitive to strobe lights, etc. you probably should not view this presentation.