is an incredibly important beat generation figure whose
influence can be seen from literature to music to film.
So much has been written about him (be it his writing, his
concepts or his colourful bohemian lifestyle) that when
taking upon this task one is confronted with an endless
amount of research material, one book giving reference to
another, then another etc. Therefore it is necessary to
begin by identifying what areas of Burroughs varied materials
and concepts will be focal to this work.
order to explore Burroughs influence in film one must identify
the key concepts within his literature which translate to
themes and motifs within related film work. This includes
investigating the cut-up technique and its development as
well as his theories on the ‘virus power' or the ‘word
virus' and the ‘control' issues within his work, as
well as his ideas on gender, sex and addiction.
will lead to the important collaborative work done in the
1960's with Brion Gysin, Antony Balch and Ian Somerville,
putting into institutional context Towers Open Fire (1963) and The Cut-Ups (1967) as well as
textually analysing the meanings within these films and
referring this to Burroughs signature concepts.
here the invistigation will progress chronologically, tracing
Burroughs' views and influences on (as well as his pre-empting
of) the punk movement, his tape recorder experiments and
the importance of his sonic theories, known as ‘The
Invisible Generation' concepts, which went on to spawn the
birth of industrial music and bands such as Throbbing Gristle
(1976-1981) whose focal member, Genesis P-Orridge, had an
instrumental role in the latter days of Burroughs life.
This links to the German independent film Decoder (1984), which features both Burroughs and P-Orridge and
is heavily thematically influenced by Burroughs, in particular
Electronic Revolution .
the 1990's and the film Naked Lunch (1991),
I will look at David Cronenberg's own style and how he has
been influenced by Burroughs as well as exploring how the
contrasting of their similar styles and ideas combined to
produce the final film. I will also look at how Cronenberg's
semi-biographical handling of the text differs from Gysin's
original screenplay and Burroughs' views on both. Progressing
into the year 2000 I will show how Burroughs influence continues
to the present day with the little known Burroughs bio-pic Beat (2000) and its more mainstream treatment
as well as briefly analysing the Darren Aronofsky movie Requiem For a Dream (2000), based on the
novel by Hubert Selby, which deals with Burroughs-esque
themes in a contemporary setting.
of this will be backed up and contextualised by pertinent
and informed theorists, such as writer of Naked Lens,
Beat Cinema Jack Sargeant and Burroughs analyst Eric
introduction | part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | >>