Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton is a celebratory portrait of James Broughton, a visionary poet and filmmaker who emerged from the artistic renaissance that flowered in post-WWII San Francisco and led a completely unconventional, countercultural existence.
The directors of Big Joy vividly follow the course of Broughton's deeply intertwined creative and personal lives through his involvement with a wide array of artists, activists and spiritual guides. Among them figure movie critic Pauline Kael (with whom he had a child), choreographer and dancer Anna Halprin, filmmaker Sidney Peterson, theater actor and playwright Kermit Sheets, designer Suzanna Hart, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Eastern philosopher Alan Watts and film student protégé Joel Singer.
Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton delves substantially into Broughton's own artistic endeavors, especially his creative writing and filmmaking. At the Cannes Film Festival, while bestowing a special award for Broughton's 1953 film The Pleasure Garden, Jean Cocteau enthused, "Bravo! An American who made a French film in England." In weaving together home movies and historic photographs, contemporary interviews and performance, quotations from Broughton's writings and clips from his movies, the filmmakers construct a cinematic mosaic that is as richly textured as Broughton's own life experiences. After his 1967 effervescent film The Bed, the mainstream accepted sexuality in all its forms in film as Broughton erased the division between life and art, philosophy and practice, poetry and cinema, thereby creating a new aesthetic in film.
Directed by Stephen Silha, Eric Slade and Dawn Logsdon, U.S.A., 2013, 83 mins.
FACETS FILM DIALOGUE:
A Q&A with director Dawn Logsdon will be here for a Q&A after all screenings on Friday, May 16th and Thursday, May 22nd (cancelled).