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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider

Posted on Thu, Aug 23, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider
Studio: First Run Features
WorkNameSort: Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider
Originally released in 1995 (four years before its subject's death), The Complete Outsider is an astounding look at one of this century's greatest polymath artists. A novelist, poet and composer, Paul Bowles is most known as the author of The Sheltering Sky and a resolute expatriate. This excellent film ' making its DVD debut ' captures Bowles' determinedly contrarian (and slightly misanthropic) personality. Though directors Catherine Warnow and Regina Weinreich make good use of archival footage and interviews with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, it's the conversations with Bowles in his Tangier apartment that are the most informative. As the libertine recollects his life's adventures, he is at all times mindful of the legacy being bolstered. Positioned, as the title says, as the 'complete outsider,â?� Bowles was acutely aware of his stature among counterculturalists, but also more than willing to push against the expectations of that stature by, for example, keeping the Beats at arm's length. Listening to Bowles casually expounding on the sanctity of art, the importance of travel and the irrelevance of technology is not as rewarding as partaking of his published writing. But as this film makes clear, for Bowles, everything ' from his conversations and proclamations to his novels and his music ' was an inseparable element of an artistic life.

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