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Year: 2007

Classification: Exempt - Ronin Recommends: PG

Runtime: 84 min

Produced In: USA

Directed By: Jerry Aronson

Produced By: Jerry Aronson

Language: English

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Visionary, radical, spiritual seeker, renowned poet, foundIng member of a major literary movement, champion of human rights, Buddhist, political activist and teacher - Allen Ginsberg's remarkable life challenged the very soul of America.

For 25 years, Academy Award-nominated director, Jerry Aronson, accumulated more than 120 hours of film on Allen Ginsberg, resulting in this comprehensive portrait of one of American's greatest poets, author of HOWL and other ground-breaking poems. This DVD set includes interviews with his friends, family and contemporaries as well as never-before-seen materials made public because of the warm friendship that developed between Ginsberg and the filmmaker.

This Special Edition contains the Director's Cut of the award-winning documentary that began filming in 1982 and now is complete, updated and re-mastered. Also included are many interviews with the latest generation of artists influenced by Ginsberg.

This compilation revels the last 60 years of American culture beginning with the Beat era in the post-war forties and fifties, continuing through the revolutionary sixties and concluding with both the uncertainty and possibility of current times.


One of the most remarkable documentations of a modern artist in any field is the result of dedicated commitment by American indie filmmaker, Jerry Aronson, who, over two decades, has collected and curated material relating to the American 'beat' poet, Allen Ginsberg (1926 - 1997).

Ginsberg was one of the most prominent public faces of the 'Beat Generation' in New York, opposing mainstream culture and politics, and expressing an alternative world-view that attracted wide attention in the 1950s and beyond.

Jerry Aronson's collection, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALLEN GINSBERG, is an enormously valuable portrait not just of Ginsberg himself but of the whole era in which he flourished, especially the 'Beat Generation' but also other counter-cultures that followed it.

The 2-DVD set incorporates:

  • Aronson's award-winning feature documentary about Ginsberg (84 mins)
  • 6 hours of additional interviews with people who had first hand encounters with Ginsberg, many of them very high profile people including Paul McCartney, Johnny Depp, Joan Baez, Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, William Burroughs, Philip Glass, Abbie Hoffman, Hunter S, Thompson, Timothy Leary, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith
  • a short film about Ginsberg's last days by Jonas Mekas
  • film of his memorial service
  • extended interviews with Ginsberg himself

For any study of literature and culture in the post-war decades, this collection is invaluable.

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