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  • William Burroughs was an iconoclast who himself became an icon.

    William Burroughs was an iconoclast who himself became an icon.

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  • Burroughs didn't feel at home unless he had a loaded gun by his side.

    Burroughs didn't feel at home unless he had a loaded gun by his side.

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  • Later in life, Burroughs moved from words to images...using some very unusual techniques.

    Later in life, Burroughs moved from words to images...using some very unusual techniques.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/william-s-burroughs-clip2.jpgmp4:william_s_burroughs-clip2-1024.mov
  • Publisher V. Vale describes how Burroughs became a role model on the punk rock scene.

    Publisher V. Vale describes how Burroughs became a role model on the punk rock scene.

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  • William S. Burroughs

    William S. Burroughs

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  • William S. Burroughs

    William S. Burroughs

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  • William S. Burroughs

    William S. Burroughs

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  • William S. Burroughs

    William S. Burroughs

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  • William S. Burroughs

    William S. Burroughs

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  • Young William S. Burroughs

    Young William S. Burroughs

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  • William S. Burroughs shooting heroin

    William S. Burroughs shooting heroin

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  • William S. Burroughs

    William S. Burroughs

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  • Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth with William S. Burroughs

    Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth with William S. Burroughs

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  • Yony Leyser (Director/Producer/Writer) of William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

    Yony Leyser (Director/Producer/Writer) of William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

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The Film

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within investigates the life of the legendary beat author and American icon. Born the heir of the Burroughs' adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems, and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned the 1966 decision, ruling that the book had important social value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Diane DiPrima, Dean Ripa (the world's largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller, and soundtrack by Sonic Youth.

William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. But his friends were left wondering if he had ever found contentment or happiness. This extremely personal documentary pierces the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time.

The Filmmaker

  1. Yony LeyserDirector