Let It Come Down: The Life Of Paul Bowles

on April 30, 1999 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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   Writer Paul Bowles' eventful life is given a superficial treatment by Canadian filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal, who's a longtime fan but not much of a documentarian. Best known as the author of "The Sheltering Sky," Bowles influenced many with his dark writings, including Beat generation luminaries Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. He also lived what he wrote, emigrating to Morocco over 50 years ago to live a dissolute life, and marrying a lesbian, Jane Auer, whom he suggests was poisoned by a female lover.
   Baichwal interviewed Bowles in 1994 and 1996 in Tangier, conversations that she has interspersed with testimonies by some of his contemporaries and current admirers and readings from his books. It's all pretty glancing stuff, with even Bowles' provocative comments about his being gay and his momentous meeting with Burroughs and Ginsberg in New York in 1995 coming across as distinctly underwhelming. He deserves a better tribute than this wan film.    Directed and produced by Jennifer Baichwal. A Zeitgeist release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 73 min.
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