Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

What is Obscene? Arthouse Films Documentary About Obscenity Trials

posted by Nell Minow

Arthouse Films, a terrific new company specializing in documentaries about art, has released an important documentary called Obscene: A Portrait of Barney Rossett and Grove Press. As was once said about another film, this one has “something to offend everyone.” Rossett published allegedly obscene books by everyone from William Burroughs, Allen Ginsburg, and Henry Miller to the “anonymous” works of Victorian pornographers. Many of these works are now considered classic texts, studied by scholars and appreciated by millions of readers. And of course, by today’s standards, they are by no means considered shocking or fringe.
Jeannette Catsoulis wrote in the New York Times:
Appropriately framed by Mr. Rosset’s raucous 1989 interview with Al Goldstein, the colorful publisher of Screw magazine and no stranger to litigation himself, “Obscene” is a warm, entertaining compendium of counterculture voices (including Jim Carroll and Amiri Baraka) and literary landmarks. It’s the story of a man who follows his own drummer — usually with rum and Coke in hand — and believes in “nourishing the accidental.” We should all be grateful that he does.
Rossett’s story is an integral part of the cultural tumult of the era and a precursor of the culture wars of today. He was a pioneer in publishing — and in First Amendment law. His courtroom battles are as important as the works he published. To paraphrase the words attributed to Voltaire, “We may not agree with what he said — we may find it disturbing, disgusting, or offensive — but I would defend to the death his right to say it.”

Previous Posts

Trailer: Disney's Descendants With the Next Generation of Villains
Coming to the Disney Channel this summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4UUQqefajc& ...

posted 3:47:40pm Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Men in Suits: Costume Designers Talk about "Scandal," "Mad Men," and More Suit-Wearing Characters on TV
The women's clothes get all the attention, but for a costume designer -- and for the actor -- a suit is just as important. Indiewire ...

posted 3:27:23pm Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Matt Mamula of Celebrity Impersonator Documentary "Just About Famous"
Matt Mamula co-directed "Just About Famous," the very entertaining new documentary about celebrity impersonators. He generously took time to talk to me about the unexpected opportunities that open up when someone looks like someone who becomes ...

posted 3:59:51pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Barak Goodman of "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies"
Director Barak Goodman talked to me about his superb series for PBS, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, now available on DVD. The series is produced ...

posted 3:55:04pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Creativity Conference 2015: Nancy Pelosi, Snoopy, and Drones with GoPros
I had so much fun at last year's Creativity Conference that I could not imagine how they could top it this year, but they succeeded. This is ...

posted 3:07:48pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.