Fletch F. Fletch wrote:
I don't know what you mean about the naive comment, though. Could you care to elaborate on it?
I'll try and get my thoughts on this out here the best I can.
Whenever a guy ups and decides "I'm going to go ahead and make a book out of (insert world-consciousness-upending novel like MOBY DICK, QUIXOTE, ULYSSES, NAKED LUNCH, etc)," he treads in zones where many filmmakers fear to tread, not necessarily because the material is, a la NAKED LUNCH, 'unfilmmable', but because they cannot match wits with the author.
Although NL is a fascinating book filled with some of the most explosively beatiful imagery on the face of the earth, is also hilarious (book made a fool outa me so many times on the NYC subway laughing so hard until I had the whole car looking at my red tearsoaked face, more I tried to contain it the worse it got), is also prophetic beyond biblical lines, is also innovative to the nth degree... although all of these things remain and scream their existence into the viscera of the reader, what it is that astounds the individual who can process the sum of Burroughs is the astronomical genius of the man. His intelligence and talent was so far out into the human stratosphere that you begin to understand that it's a little embarassing trying to even describe what's excellent about his work, as the superlatives usually fall short of conjuring up the scope the same way Universe
cannot illustrate the sum of everything including the earth
. For Burrough's intelligence (Ginsberg & Kerouac proffessed to openly "sit at his feet", Kerouac described him, when out of his presence, as the "most intelligent man in America"; Norman Mailer, that most envious and competitive of writers declared Burroughs "perhaps the only living American writer conceivably posessed by genius", etc) was combined with such a radical understanding of who the hysterically moralizing Shits of the world were vs. folks who could relax and mind their own business that the level of what some would refer to as "cool" posessed by this liptwitching paranoid man made his intelligence that much more unique. This coming from a midwestern wasp, a Harvard educated coulda-been-buck of a vested American family who insured that he lived what he believed by severing all possible social ties from his original milieu by publishing autobioghraphical works that openly declared himself a junky, a homosexual, an investigator of those areas of life which sent the bourgoise into shrieks of hysterics... insuring there was never a 'way back' for him at a time when it was not at all clear that he could secure an income from writing.
It's the full plate of what makes Burroughs Burroughs that causes folks to return and return again to his work. He is his books. They really fall into no genre, they're not science fiction, not the mindless self-promoting Faction droozle of "A MILLION LITTLE PIECES", etc.
So the man who steps up to that plate and says "I am now going to make NAKED LUNCH" will always do so humbly cheeping about "Of course it's not going to be, uh, you know, the definitive NL..."
It has less to do with mise en scene, acting, etc, as it does with the fact there is always going to be continent-sized gulf between the mind of the film's creators and the mind of Burroughs
. That's what I mean about the film reading as naive. Compared to Burroughs, some of the stuff in the movie is almost embarassing in it's bourgoise-wierdness. It comes off as the cute construction of a creative Burroughs fan with a nice budget and very good filmmaking skills. But when tackling the supreme creations of the five or six most rarified minds ever to walk the surface of the modern world, a moderate amount of Affirmative Action is going to have to be granted the director in most cases.