Wednesday, March 5 - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

“HOWL is Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s take on Allen Ginsberg’s 1955 countercultural cri de coeur and it fuses period recreation, animation, biopic, courtroom drama, cultural documentary and much more.

“James Franco is Ginsberg, who in 1957 gives an interview recalling the writing process which produced his most notorious work. The poem’s publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, is on trial for obscenity, and hordes of stuffed-shirt ‘experts’ line up to condemn or defend it. Flash back to 1955: Ginsberg hammers away at his typewriter, and the words he writes become images: of haunted streets and honking saxes, of the dark money-God Moloch and his legions of wage slaves.

“We travel back even further, to Ginsberg’s days on the road with Neal Cassady, or locked up in a mental ward with the doomed schizophrenic who inspired ‘Howl’, Carl Solomon. Structurally complex it may be, but HOWL is a marvellously entertaining film, crashing through time periods, genres, film stocks and animation techniques with absolute confidence…

“Franco is terrific as Ginsberg: as a poet and a student of literature (he’s currently doing his PhD at Yale), he’s uniquely suited to the role, but his immaculately self-contained, unshowy portrayal is still impressive. The cast is rounded out with character actors seemingly chosen because we already associate them with the period: Jon Hamm from ‘Mad Men’ and David Strathairn from ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ both slide perfectly into their immaculately tailored suits as warring lawyers on opposite sides of the obscenity battle… this is a bold, inspiring piece of work, putting experimental techniques in the service of a heartfelt, insightful and surprisingly audience-friendly work of art.” – Time Out (London)

  • Country USA
  • Rating R
  • Year 2010
  • Running Time 84 minutes
  • Director Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.