CONEY ISLAND OF LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI, THE
(director/writer: Christopher Felver; cinematographer: Christopher Felver; editor: Marilla Pearsall; music: Rick Depofi; cast: Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Kenneth Rexroth, George Whitman; Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Christopher Felver; Mystic Fire Video; 1996)
“A fine film for introducing the younger generations to the renown poet and also for the older generations, who might have lost track of Ferlinghetti in the ensuing years.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
It’s always interesting to see how what once was perceived as hip no longer is with the passing of time, such as the now older beat poets featured in this doc unable to shock us any more. This earnest tribute documentary to the Beat Generation and Lawrence Ferlinghetti is directed with reverence to its subjects by Christopher Felver. There’s no counter argument to all the praise heaped on the amiable poet, famous for owning San Francisco’s dissident poetry bookshop City lights (opened in 1953) and for his 1958 poem A Coney Island of the Mind.
The gist of the film isthe staunch anarchist Ferlinghetti taking us a tour of his life and pointing out how this son of an Italian immigrant, whose dad died before he was born in Yonkers, entrenched himself as one of the leading figures in beat poetry during the 1950s and used his influence to publish such radical poetry books as Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, which was initially banned, and befriended the likes of Kenneth Rexroth (one of my favorite poets, and one of the most influential of the times), Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac. Now in his seventies,Ferlinghetti is honored in his North Beach section of San Francisco by having a street named after him.
A fine film for introducing the younger generations to the renown poet and also for the older generations, who might have lost track of Ferlinghetti in the ensuing years.
REVIEWED ON 7/22/2010 GRADE: B+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/