Obscene: A Portrait of Barney Rosset and Grove Press
Neil Ortenberg/ Daniel O'Connor
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Type: DVD 5
Length: 97 Min
TV System: NTSC
Code: Regional Code 1
Language: English OV
OBSCENE is the definitive film biography of Barney Rosset, the influential publisher of Grove Press and the Evergreen Review. He acquired the then fledgling Grove Press in 1951 and soon embarked on a tumultuous career of publishing and political engagement that continues to inspire today's defenders of free expression. Not only was he the first American publisher of acclaimed authors Samuel Beckett, Kenzaburo Oe, Tom Stoppard, Che Guevara, and Malcolm X, but he also battled the government in the highest courts to overrule the obscenity ban on groundbreaking works of fiction such as Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer and Naked Lunch. Ultimately he won and altered the course of history, but not without first enduring lawsuits, death-threats, grenade attacks, government surveillance, and the occupation of his premises by enraged feminists.
But the same unyielding and reckless energy Rosset used to publish and distribute controversial works such as Allen Ginsberg's Howl, the Swedish film I AM CURIOUS (YELLOW), and the provocative Evergreen Review, also brought him perilously close to destruction. Featuring music by Bob Dylan, The Doors, Warren Zevon, and Patti Smith, and never-before-seen footage, OBSCENE is directed by first time filmmakers Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O'Connor.
William S. Burroughs