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90 min.
Year of Production:

Bob Balaban
Jeff Daniels
Allen Ginsberg
Jon Hamm
Aaron Tveit
Treat Williams
Kadance Frank
Nancy Spence
Heather Klar
Mary-Louise Parker
Jon Prescott
Johary Ramos
Andrew Rogers
Todd Rotondi
David Strathairn
Alesandro Nivola
Production Company:
Werc Werk Works
Berlinale Section:
Berlinale Category:
Feature Film

In 1957 an American masterpiece was tried before a court of law. Standing trial was the poem ‘Howl’ by Allen Ginsberg, which he recited for the first time in public at the Six Gallery in San Francisco on 7 October 1955. Two years later, the poem appeared in print, published by City Light Books, a publishing house owned by the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The tiny print run of 520 copies was subsequently seized by the police and Ferlinghetti found himself in court, having to account for ‘distributing obscene literature’.
The trial, which was to make ‘Howl’ and its creators famous overnight, is still considered to be the moment when counterculture was born. Robert Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman have reconstructed this landmark historical moment from three perspectives. Their film documents the court proceedings; it also reconstructs in dramatised scenes the reactions of those at the core of young poet Allen Ginsberg’s life. Finally, there’s the famous poem itself, which illustrator Eric Drooker, who himself used to work with Ginsberg, has visualised for the film as a ‘Beat Fantasia’ to a score by Carter Burwell.
In the meantime, state attorney Ralph McIntosh and defence attorney Jake Ehrlich, a prominent lawyer in the civil rights movement, engage in some fierce verbal sparring, presided over by Judge Clayton Horn. Both sides have summoned witnesses and experts. At the end of the trial the conservative judge announces his surprisingly passionate verdict.

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are best known for THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK, which won in 1984 the Oscar for Best Documentary. PARAGRAPH 175 won the TEDDY for BEST DOCUMENTARY in 2000.

watch Berlinale video streams of the Red Carpet and the Press Conference

BIOGRAFIE Rob (Robert) Epstein

Rob Epstein was born on April 6, 1955 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The documentary filmmaker became known to a wider audience with his film The Times of Harvey Milk (1985), which encapsulates a crucial turning point in gay politics. Since collaborating on Word is Out, Epstein has produced and directed numerous non-fiction works for national television. He has taught in the graduate program at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and is currently co-chair of the Media Arts Department at California College of the Arts, where he is a professor

FILMOGRAFIE Rob (Robert) Epstein (selection)

2019 Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Dokumentation)  2019 State of Pride (Dokumentation)  2018 Endspiel (Kurzdokumentation)  2014 The Oscars (TV Movie Dokumentation)  2013 Linda Lovelace - Pornostar  2010 Howl  2006 Ten Days that unexpectedly Changed America: Gold Rush (TV-Dokumentation)  2002 Crime & Punishment (TV-Serie)  1999 Paragraph 175  1995 The Celluloid Closet  1986 The AIDS Show  1984 The Times of Harvey Milk  1977 Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives 

BIOGRAFIE Jeffrey Friedman

Jeffrey Friedman: born in 1951 in Los Angeles. Has worked as assistant editor on documentaries and features since 1972, including Martin Scorsese’s RAGING BULL (1979).

FILMOGRAFIE Jeffrey Friedman (selection)

2019 State of Pride (Dokumentation)  2019 Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Dokumentation)  2018 Endspiel (Kurzdokumentation)  2016 Killing the Colorado (TV Movie Dokumentation)  2014 Die Oscars (TV Movie Dokumentation)  2013 The Battle of Amfar (Kurzdokumentation)  2011 Entry Denied (Kurzdokumentation)  2010 Howl  1999 Paragraph 175  1995 The Celluloid Closet 

IMDb - Jeffrey Friedman
IMDb - Rob Epstein
Watch trailer on youtube

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