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

Interview: Michael Rossato-Bennett of "Alive Inside"
Michael Rossato-Bennett agreed to spend one day filming Dan Cohen's remarkable music therapy work with people struggling with dementia. He ended up spending three years there and the result is "Alive Inside," an extraordinary documentary about the power of music to reach the human spirit, even when

posted 3:58:01pm Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Movies' Greatest Mirror Scenes
Anne Billson has a great piece in The Telegraph on mirror scenes in movies, from the Marx brothers clowning in "Duck Soup" and the shootout in "The Lady from Shanghai" to Elizabeth Taylor scrawling on the mirror with lipstick in "Butterfield 8." [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKTT-sy0aLg

posted 8:00:51am Jul. 23, 2014 | read full post »

How Do Movies Show Time Passing?
Someone once said that movies are "pieces of time." A few take place in "real time." Alfred Hitchcock's experiment, "Rope," unfolds in just the time it takes us to watch it, all in what appears to be one seamless shot. But others take place over days, weeks, years, even generations. Slavko Vorkap

posted 8:00:40am Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Boring TV Makes You Fat
A new study finds that boring television leads to mindless snacking and that leads to putting on pounds. So, watch programs that excite and engage you. Or, if the show is boring, turn off the television.

posted 8:00:05am Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Switched at Birth and the End of Life
I'm a big fan of ABC Family's Switched at Birth and have appreciated its complicated characters, honest and heartfelt relationships, and compelling storylines, as well as its unprecedented, in-depth portrayal of the deaf community. Last week's episode may have been the all-time best (SPOILER ALERT)

posted 3:59:49pm Jul. 21, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.