Nov 9-13, 2017

And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead

with Guest Director Billy Woodberry

Run Time: 89 mins USA Language: English

Synopsis

Born in 1925 and considered “the American Rimbaud,” San Francisco Beat poet Bob Kaufman contributes a singular voice to the poetic-political imaginings of world literature. Billy Woodberry’s film is a journey into the ferocious beauty of Kaufman’s work, and his insistence that poetry is fundamental to humanity’s moral survival. Skillfully melding Kaufman’s verse together with rare archival photographs and interviews, Woodberry offers a moving homage to the half-black, half-Jewish, and passionately left-wing poet, who once declared that his “ambition is to be completely forgotten.”

Shown with Marseilles Apres la Guerre (2015, 10 minutes), a poetic collection of post-World War II black & white photographs portraying the dockworkers of Marseilles, many of whom were of African descent. The images evoke the life and work of Senegalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembène, a former dockworker, and one of the founding figures of the New African Cinema of the 1960s.

Billy Woodberry will join in conversation with Houston-based filmmaker and visual artist Carroll Parrott Blue, a fellow member of the “L.A. Rebellion” of black independent filmmakers.

Woodberry, whose own thirty-one-year break from filmmaking is subtly acknowledged by his film, reasserts Kaufman’s fleeting yet vivid figure into the art and poetry scenes transforming Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s North Beach, offering first-hand accounts of Kaufman by fellow poets such as Jack Hirschman, as well as extraordinary photographs of the Happenings and haunts animated by Kaufman’s indelible presence. Especially resonant is Woodberry’s careful use of Kaufman’s own words, released like birds throughout the film, together with the understated fragments of the jazz and conga drums that so inspired the unique cadence and visionary language of Kaufman’s extraordinary poems.

Haden Guest, Harvard Film Archive

Born in 1925 and considered “the American Rimbaud,” San Francisco Beat poet Bob Kaufman contributes a singular voice to the poetic-political imaginings of world literature. Billy Woodberry’s film is a journey into the ferocious beauty of Kaufman’s work, and his insistence that poetry is fundamental to humanity’s moral survival. Skillfully melding Kaufman’s verse together with rare archival photographs and interviews, Woodberry offers a moving homage to the half-black, half-Jewish, and passionately left-wing poet, who once declared that his “ambition is to be completely forgotten.”

Shown with Marseilles Apres la Guerre (2015, 10 minutes), a poetic collection of post-World War II black & white photographs portraying the dockworkers of Marseilles, many of whom were of African descent. The images evoke the life and work of Senegalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembène, a former dockworker, and one of the founding figures of the New African Cinema of the 1960s.

Billy Woodberry will join in conversation with Houston-based filmmaker and visual artist Carroll Parrott Blue, a fellow member of the “L.A. Rebellion” of black independent filmmakers.

Woodberry, whose own thirty-one-year break from filmmaking is subtly acknowledged by his film, reasserts Kaufman’s fleeting yet vivid figure into the art and poetry scenes transforming Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s North Beach, offering first-hand accounts of Kaufman by fellow poets such as Jack Hirschman, as well as extraordinary photographs of the Happenings and haunts animated by Kaufman’s indelible presence. Especially resonant is Woodberry’s careful use of Kaufman’s own words, released like birds throughout the film, together with the understated fragments of the jazz and conga drums that so inspired the unique cadence and visionary language of Kaufman’s extraordinary poems.

Haden Guest, Harvard Film Archive

Film Details

USA & PORTUGAL, 2015
DIRECTED BY BILLY WOODBERRY
WRITTEN BY BILLY WOODBERRY
CINEMATOGRAPHY BY PIERRE H. DESIR
EDITED BY LUIS NUNES, AMIR MASESH
CAST: BOB KAUFMAN
RUNNING TIME: 89 MINS

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