Beats On Film OPENING PARTY (feat. Pull My Daisy & In Search Of On The Road)

“I saw the best minds of my generation pick up the film they’d had developed at Woolworth’s!” — Lord Buckley (sic)

Not ones to slouch away from a creative challenge, the prime movers of the Beat Generation had an unending drive to create works in every medium they could get their hands on — and the surfeit of remaining 16mm cameras left in the wake of WWII allowed these O.G. hipsters to collectively become the first American underground subculture to let their hepcat howls of flickering light hit the not-so-square screen. What the Beats lacked in practical means was easily balanced with a burning zeal that hatched works of limitless experimentation and playful cine-riffing that emanated from their smoky subterranean jungle. Perhaps no film typified this intense milieu better than Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie’s Pull My Daisy (shown tonight in 35mm!); adapted by Kerouac from his own poem “The Beat Generation”, this mythical fly-on-the-wall journey into the hearts, minds and living rooms of such literary luminaries as Ginsberg, Orlovsky and Corso as well as a host of scenester artists, musicians and actors, stands as the quintessential document of that generation “destroyed by madness; starving hysterical naked.” Accompanying Pull My Daisy on this wild ride is a screaming selection of Beat shorts, including the avant-garde drive-by Bridges-Go-Round, the cut-and-paste pop culture collage Science Friction, and the apocalyptic mini-epic The End.

- Pull My Daisy Dirs. Robert Frank & Alfred Leslie, 1959, 35mm, 30 min.
- Bridges-Go-Round Dir. Shirley Clarke, 1958, 16mm, 4 min.
- Science Friction Dir. Stan Vanderbeek, 1959, 35mm, 10 min.
- The End Dir. Christopher Maclaine, 1953, 16mm, 35 min.

IN SEARCH OF “ON THE ROAD” – approx. 9:30pm
“Since its publication in 1957, Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel ‘On the Road’ has been a Holy Grail for several filmmakers heroically seeking to bring it to the screen. Of these, none has labored more ardently, or with such Arthurian purity of heart, than Brazilian director Walter Salles. Salles has lived and breathed the project since 2005, at times in the certain belief he was about to realize it, while at other times fearing it will never come to be. Unable to put it from his mind even as he was making other films, he crafted not one but two unseen feature-length documentaries. The first, fashioned in hopeful seasons, is an optimistic paean to the book, the Beats and the road movie; the second, drawn from darker hours, is an elegy to a seemingly unrealizable project and to the road-movie genre itself. (“There is nowhere to go, anymore, nothing more to discover, no point in being on the road,” is his lament.) Salles has fashioned a third cut from his trove of rich material, and will present an hour-long impressionistic essay featuring screen tests, road movie clips, candid personal reflections, period music, archival footage and interviews with key cultural figures.” — Graham Leggat, San Francisco International Film Festival

Watch an excerpt from “Pull My Daisy”!

Watch an excerpt from “Science Friction”!