A lot going on in 'Howl'

The raging controversy that surrounded the publication and subsequent trial for obscenity of beat poet Alan Ginsberg’s 'Howl' in San Fransisco in 1957 is the background for this documentary-drama.

Directors: Rob Epstein/Jeffrey Friedman

Cast: James Franco, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Brides, David Strathairn

The raging controversy that surrounded the publication and subsequent trial for obscenity of beat poet Alan Ginsberg’s 'Howl' in San Fransisco in 1957 is the background for this documentary-drama.

It cleverly matches a black-and-white interview with Ginsberg (played masterfully by Franco) with a coloured reconstruction of the trial courtroom and adds an animated construct of the poem … there’s a lot going on here.

The questions set up by this strong if curiously approached film are: was 'Howl' obscene and, more importantly, was it actually any good?

'No' and 'No' would seem to be answers, but you might well come up with another couple of answers after watching this film.

Star Rating: 4/5

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