Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton (2013, Silha & Slade)

Learning about a San Franciscan fave of the Anthology Film Archives and the Visionary Film book I keep at my bedside. I’ve skimmed Broughton’s own filmmaking book Making Light of It, which I bought because of its great title, but my book collection is a shambles and I can’t find it right now.

He hangs out with other poets, including Anais Nin, starts filming with The Potted Psalm, then Mother’s Day is his solo debut. He goes to Europe with his first films and makes The Pleasure Garden in England, which goes to Cannes, where he’s presented an award by his hero (and mine) Jean Cocteau… is offered commercial film work, but turns it down, and doesn’t make another film for 15 years.

Lotta stock footage with talking heads. I respect that the doc tells its own story instead of sticking to strict chronological order, but don’t respect that it motion-graphics one of Broughton’s poems. It spends more time on his love affairs than his post-1960’s work (he had a kid with Pauline Kael, then cheerfully proclaimed homosexuality late in life).

I’d only previously seen his Four in the Afternoon, and the collab with Sidney Peterson – the hope was to watch a bunch more after this doc, but only got to one.

Loony Tom (1951, James Broughton)

Tom will not rest until he has kissed every girl in the countryside. A straightforward randy romp, with piano music and a spoken poem at the top and tail. Broughton’s friend Kermit was quite good at being a silent comedy star.

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