Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vintage (1964) Report on The Beat Generation


We've actually spotlighted this before (in the context of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's birthday - there's a young Ferlinghetti here - but there's also rarely-seen Kerouac - and more). The date is 1964, the source, Radio-Canada. En Francais (but, even those without French should get something, in fact, quite a good deal, from it). Filmed predominantly in San Francisco, the clarity and straightforwardness of Ferlinghetti and Kerouac as spokespersons cuts through the more superficial sociological documentarian overlay. Not to suggest that black-and-white footage of 'Sixties hipsters isn't interesting in and of itself !
"Pauvre mais joyeux" (poor but happy) is how Kerouac describes the Beat reality to the earnest inquiring reporter. Ferlinghetti points out the contempt built into the journalistic word "beatnik", speaks of San Francisco's radical tradition(s), and of the city's then (1964) present activity. The tape, be forewarned, ends somewhat abruptly.. mais très intéressant, n'est-ce pas?

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