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With: Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Billy Collins, Robert Scheer, Dennis Hopper, Dave Eggers, Michael McClure, Amiri Baraka, Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Christopher Felver
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 76
Date: 04/01/2009
IMDB

Ferlinghetti (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Freedom of Speech

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Bay Area-based filmmaker Christopher Felver directed this slight portrait of poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who has spent roughly the second half of his life living and working in San Francisco, running the totally independent City Lights Bookstore and publishing all kinds of great stuff under the City Lights publishing wing. One of his first publications was Allan Ginsberg's "Howl," which plunked Ferlinghetti into all kinds of hot water. (According to the movie, Ferlinghetti took the bullet and went to trial while Ginsberg wasn't even in the country; fortunately the good guys won.) The movie also makes the argument that Ferlinghetti is the best known and most widely read of living poets; his "Coney Island of the Mind" has been constantly in print for fifty years. But at only 75 minutes, the film barely scratches the surface of the man. Talking heads tell us about things and clips show the man in action, but new footage of Ferlinghetti today is few and far between, and that much is more reverent than curious. Still, the movie does make you want to read more poetry.

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