Friday, November 01, 2013

"Kill Your Darlings": a witty look at the 1940s "friendshiips" among Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs, filtered by a tragedy

Kill Your Darlings” certainly leaves us with the idea that you have to break the rules and walk on the edge to get anywhere later in life as an artist.  So it was with Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) as a Columbia freshman in 1943, William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Houston), in this wacky period piece.  Allen becomes friends with the rebel Lucien Carr (a charismatic Dane DeHaan) who fights his gay identity in a distant triangle, with David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall).   Lucien’s problems result in a confrontation and stabbing-drowning by Lucien of David, which, according to the laws of the time, he can partially defend as an “honor killing” claiming that the victim was a homosexual “predator”.
  
The film, directed by John Kodridas, is quite fast-paced, with constant quick cuts breaking up the intimate scenes.  But it gives some look at the “Village” in the 1940s, where, even then, the “fairies” went, well before Stonewall.
  
There are constant radio reports of WWII from Europe, and I wondered how all these guys really got out of fighting.  They even talk about joining the merchant marine to catch up with the victory parade when it’s over. 
  
The film uses the “Poco Allegretto” C Minor movement of the Brahms Symphony #3, in one scene migrating from the sound of a 78-record player to Dolby Digital, and offering a piano reduction in another scene. The music was used in the 1961 film “Goodbye Again” (or “Aimez-vous Brahms”), by Anatole Livak, which I saw during my one semester at William and Mary with a music friend.  The film also uses the piano C# minor waltz of Brahms.

The stuffy poetry classes of Professor Stevens (John Cullum) show how stuffy ivy league school coild be.  And eve for college students, some books in the library ("it's free") were restricted. 
    
   
Sony Pictures Classics even used a retro trademark, instead of its usual blue screen, to open the film. 
   
The official site is here.
   
The film should be compared to the biography “Howl” (Nov. 6, 2010), “On the Road “(April 7, 2013), “Naked Lunch” (March 1, 2012), and “Obscene” (March 14, 2012) and the bio “William S. Burroughs” (March 9, 2012).

Wasn'r ir Oscar Wilde who wrote "A man kills the things he loves"? 


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