Monday, December 28, 2009

Henry Miller Asleep & Awake in his Bathroom with Gurdjieff

“Today, I think it’s the ugliest, filthiest, shittiest city in the world. When I was a kid, there was hardly anything that we have today - no telephones, no nothing, really. It was rather quaint. There was color even, in the buildings. But as time went on, why, it got more horrible to me. When I think of the Brooklyn bridge, which was the only bridge then in many times I walked over that bridge on an empty stomach, back and forth, looking for a handout, never getting anything...selling newspapers at Times Square, begging on Broadway, coming home with a dime maybe. It’s no wonder that I had these goddamned recurring nightmares all my life. I don’t know how I ever survived, or why I’m still sane.”
Filmed when the author was 81, HENRY MILLER ASLEEP & AWAKE is a voyage of ideas about life, writing, sex, spirituality, nightmares, and New York that captures the warmth, vigor and high animal spirits of a singular American artist. The man is Henry Miller and the room is his bathroom. It's a miraculous shrine covered with photos and drawings collected by the author over the course of his long and fruitful life. Graciously, in his raspy, sonorous voice, he points out the highlights of his improvised gallery, speaking of philosophers, writers, painters, mad kings, women, and friends.

Tom Schiller grew up in LA and met Henry Miller when he was 18 assisting another filmmaker shooting at the author's home. Schiller's other works include documentaries on Willem de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller and Anais Nin, before joining Saturday Night Live as an original writer. There, he won three Emmy's and created the short film segments "Schiller's Reel" and "Schillervision" and worked with John Belushi, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner among others. Schiller later wrote and directed an MGM/UA feature film entitled "Nothing Lasts Forever" and has been directing television commercials for over a decade.

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