Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Hubert Selby Jr It/ll Be Better Tomorrow|
Actors: Hubert Selby Jr., Ellen Burstyn, Lou Reed, Richard Price, Nick Tosches
Directors: Michael W. Dean, Kenneth Shiffrin
Featuring: Lou Reed, Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Darren Aronofsky, Uli Edel, Henry Rollins, Jerry Stahl, Richard Price, Nick Tosches, & narrated by Robert Downey, Jr. This documentary is a harrowing and engaging exploratio... more »
Hubert Selby Jr. One Not To be Overlooked
Sufferwords | 12/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hubert Selby Jr. It'll Be Better Tomorrow is a fascinating film. How could an author of such overwhelming influence have become so overlooked for so long. Controversy and drugs derailed this genius but when you hear those he influenced tell it, it was the mainstream that passed him by not the artists. Selby's battles with TB, heroin, and everything else belie the spiritual giant he seems to have become. Lou Reed tells how 'Last Exit To Brooklyn' spun his world, Lou Reed goes on to spin the world of music, the impact is profound. Writing when books could still be banned 'England banned Last Exit', Selby triumphed and didn't bow. Amazing film, well crafted and concise, a great look into the soul of the artist"
Informative documentary of my favorite novelist
Drew Hunkins | Madison, WI United States | 08/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It had to be about 1991 when I finally came across an old dusty library copy of Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn; I had recently seen Uli Edel's excellent film adaptation and was always curious about the book. I promptly sat down and for the next four hours devoured Selby's classic. It's such a great work that I make it a point to re-read it at least once every few years.
When I lived in Greenwich Village in the mid 1990s everyone seemed crazy about the Beats, I'd mention Selby and a lot of them barely knew who he was. For me, Kerouac and the rest of them, though damn good at what they did, just don't match up to Selby's genius level. I recall I borrowed my copy of his book of short stories, Song of the Silent Snow, to a gal who lived in my building, after all these years I still haven't gotten it back.
It/ll Be Better Tomorrow gets into everything Selby, from his youth in Brooklyn, his days in the merchant Marine, the heroin addiction, the debilitating TB, his early attempts at writing, the life of penury, it's all here in detail. Interesting commentary touches on the development of his unique and certainly eccentric style that utilizes the ever present Selby /slash/ and different paragraph indentations. Readers who haven't read any of his books have no idea what in the hell that means, but once you read one of his works you'll realize that he doesn't always use regular punctuation and definitely has his own style of setting up words on paper. All one has to do is see a single paragraph of his writing and it's immediately identifiable.
A nice array of notables comment on Selby's life throughout the documentary. Arguably the closest writer to him presently, Richard Price, adds some interesting thoughts, while Ellen Burstyn, Henry Rollins, Amiri Baraka, and various actors and writers discuss his life and work. The best additions to the film are simply the stories provided from his boyhood pals in Brooklyn who surprisingly were able to stay in touch with him throughout his life.
Hubert Selby, Jr. : Ten Times More Life-Affirming Than Anyth
Tom Lavagnino | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most people probably know Selby through the (justly-acclaimed) film versions of his two most famous novels, LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. But the excellence of these two movies will never replace the jaw-droppingly-amazing achievements of Selby's prose -- as this documentary ably and evocatively proves. Fearless, passionate, and wildly experimental (the very title of this documentary is a reference to Selby's completely original style of punctuation/grammar), Selby -- somewhat surprisingly -- was also a writer who, while wallowing among the dregs of society and dredging up its truths, somehow emerges, at the end of the day, as the most life-affirming literary personage imaginable. It's an alchemy that was all Selby's own, and this documentary is a must-see for anyone and everyone intrigued by the intermingling of words, storytelling, and spirituality in our contemporary world."
Applause for this film...
S. Michael | San Francisco, CA United States | 05/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a truly great film - actually drove me to tears, which does not happen very often these days. Of course, I had already seen "Last Exit To Brooklyn" and had been severly affected (er, shocked) by it, but I had never bothered to take a look at the human being behind the script.
Dean and Shiffrin have done an amazing job of telling a story that was no doubt fairly overwhelming to piece together. So much happened to Selbert during his life that it's hard to imagine being able to distill it all down into seventy-nine minutes. (It's worth noting that the DVD comes with much additional interview footage that did not fit into the final cut. The directors should be applauded for including all of this seminal commentary for the viewer and not just leaving it on the cutting room floor)
I was so impressed by this film that I went online and ordered a copy of Selbert's book: "The Willow Tree".
I am hoping that colleges here in the US will begin to include this film as part of any course on modern American literature, as it sure portrays one man's honest view of the American experience, a view that is not necessarily the most evident anymore (and which has been all but swept under the rug by modern American advertising).