Literary Documentary

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Burroughs: The Movie
Made up of intimate, revelatory footage of the singular author and poet filmed over the course of five years, Howard Brookner's 1983 documentary about William S. Burroughs was for decades mainly the stuff of legend; that changed when Aaron Brookner,…
Write Down, I am an Arab
"Write Down, I am an Arab" tells the story of Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian national poet and one of the most influential writers of the Arab world. His writing shaped Palestinian identity and helped galvanize generations of Palestinians to their…
Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life
This Academy Award nominated documentary is the first authorized film look at the life and work of the controversial Russian-born author Ayn Rand. The writer of such renowned novels as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged is the subject of Michael…
Dear Mr. Watterson - The Era of Calvin & Hobbes
Calvin & Hobbes dominated the Sunday comics in thousands of newspapers for over 10 years, having a profound effect on millions of readers across the globe. When the strip's creator, Bill Watterson, retired the strip on New Year's Eve in…
Ralph Ellison: An American Journey
RALPH ELLISON: AN AMERICAN JOURNEY is the first documentary on one of the most gifted and intellectually provocative authors of modern American literature. It establishes Ellison as a central figure in contemporary debates over art, politics, race and nationhood. Narrated…
Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train
We mourn the loss of author, activist, historian and beloved folk hero Howard Zinn, who has been an integral part of the First Run legacy for many years. Howard lent his support to many First Run films (many of which…
Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
One man's wild, lifelong adventure of testing society's boundaries through his subversive art, Far Out Isn't Far Enough _: The Tomi Ungerer Story_ combines traditional documentary storytelling with original animation culled from seven decades worth of art from the renegade…
Dangerous Edge - A Life of Graham Greene
PBS
British actor Sir Derek Jacobi narrates this portrait of author Graham Greene: a British spy, doubting Catholic, and manic-depressive who wrote critically acclaimed best-sellers including The Quiet American, Brighton Rock, The End of the Affair and The Third Man. Weaving…
Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All
Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All is an in-depth documentary of one of America's greatest and least understood authors. This compelling life story reveals a unique literary voice through rare interviews, historic footage and the gritty…
The Mystery of Agatha Christie with David Suchet
PBS
David Suchet, TV's Poirot, has spent more of his life acting out the plots and dramas created by Agatha Christie than anyone else in the world. Suchet is embarking on a journey to learn more about the woman who created…
Ferlinghetti
This incisive and entertaining portrait of American poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti explores his vital role as catalyst for numerous literary careers and for the Beat movement itself. Interviews with Ferlinghetti and others reveal a rich melange of characters and events that…
Billy Collins: On the Road with the Poet Laureate
Billy Collins is perhaps the first American poet since Robert Frost to enjoy both critical and popular acclaim. This 59-minute documentary captures the qualities that make Collins such a refreshing literary figure. With a film crew trailing him from poetry…
Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen - The Friendship of a Writer and an Actor
Ernest Hemingway: Writer, war correspondent, international adventurer, lover, drinker, brawler. The tabloid reputation -- filled with truths, half-truths and flat-out untruths -- grows ever wider. If you made up a character like Ernest Hemingway, how many would believe it? The…
Hubert Selby Jr - It Will Be Better Tomorrow
Narrated by Robert Downey, Jr, featuring: Lou Reed, Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Darren Aronofsky, Uli Edel, Henry Rollins, Jerry Stahl, Richard Price, Nick Tosches. This documentary is a harrowing and engaging exploration into the life and art of the renowned…
The Paper Mirror
In the winter of 2010, Alison Bechdel is entrenched in the process of writing "Are You My Mother", a hauntingly personal graphic memoir about her mother, and a follow up of sorts to 2006's award-winning "Fun Home." Known best for…
Author Günter Grass: The Awkward One
Winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 2005, Gunter Grass is one of the literary giants of modern times. He is probably best known around the world as the author of The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) of which a…
James Salter: A Sport and a Past Time
This 54-minute documentary traces the writer James Salter's lifelong love affair with France, unforgettably expressed in his 1967 masterpiece, A Sport and a Pastime. The novel, a transcendent examination of sexual desire, follows an ill-fated love affair between a Yale…
Flicker
This award-winning documentary about poet, calligrapher and mystic Brion Gysin portrays the life and legacy of an artist who believed art could revolutionize human consciousness. This film chronicles Gysin's complex ideas and influence with some key counterculture figures, such as…
Harold Pinter: Art, Truth & Politics
"[A] passionate and astonishing speech, which mixed moral vigour with forensic detail... This was a man delivering an attack on American foreign policy, and Britain's subscription to it, with a controlled anger and a deadly irony. And, paradoxically, it reminded…
The Last Flight of Petr Ginz
By 14 he had written five novels and penned a diary about the Nazi occupation of Prague. By 16 he had produced 170 drawings and paintings, edited an underground magazine in the Jewish ghetto, written numerous short stories and had…