Release Date : Sep 5, 2008 Limited Genre Movie :Documentary,Special Interest
Mpaa Rating : Unrated
Actors :Barney Rosset,Amiri Baraka,Jim Carroll,Lawrence Ferlinghetti,Al Goldstein,Erica Jong,Ray Manzarek,John Rechy,Peter Rosset,John Sayles,Gore Vidal,John Waters,Michael McClure,Aubrey Plaza,Donald Glover,D.C. Pierson,Dominic Dierkes,Ed Sanders
To countless avant-garde novelists, filmmakers, and playwrights, publisher Barney Rosset -- proprietor of the legendary Grove Press -- qualifies as an undisputed hero. Via scores of in-court legal battles, Rosset fought aggressively and valiantly to defend the release of works as varied as William S. Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch, Henry Miller's novel Tropic of Cancer, and Vilgot Sjöman's classic arthouse film I Am Curious (Yellow). As co-directed by Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O'Connor, the documentary Obscene builds a case not only for the idea that Rosset was utterly indispensable in the battle for freedom of speech that descended on America in the late '60s and early '70s, but that he deserves hearty praise for championing works that pushed accepted moral standards into theretofore unacceptable territory. Via a combination of extensive archival footage and interviews, Obscene traces Rosset's professional and personal life, beginning with his early years at the Parker School and Swarthmore through his involvement in the armed forces and his presence in the Manhattan avant-garde with wife Joan Mitchell during the late '40s and early '50s. The film places heaviest emphasis on (and devotes most of its screen time to) Rosset's censorship battles for various works during the mid- to late '60s, before moving into an exploration of his troubled subsequent years that were marked by financial difficulty, violent attacks from disapproving groups, government surveillance, and a host of other complications. Interviewees include Rosset, Al Goldstein, John Waters, Gore Vidal, John Sayles, and Ray Manzarek. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi
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New Visitor Ranting & Critics For ObsceneUser Ranting Movie Obscene : 3.4
User Percentage For Obscene : 66 %
User Count Like for Obscene : 269
Some New Trailer For Obscene
New Review For Movie ObsceneThe focus of Obscene remains steadfastly on the man, thanks to a rich variety of archival and interview clips that span his entire career and a slew of colleagues, fiends and enemies.
Ted Fry-Seattle Times
A compelling documentary about [Barney Rosset] directed by neophytes Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O'Connor.
V.A. Musetto-New York Post
A warm, entertaining compendium of counterculture voices (including Jim Carroll and Amiri Baraka) and literary landmarks.
Jeannette Catsoulis-New York Times
Filled with reminiscence and laughter, this lively and largely adoring documentary looks back on the life and work of Barney Rosset, best known as the longtime owner of Grove Press.
Joshua Land-Time Out New York
[A] very fine documentary.
Michelle Orange-Village Voice
Obscene, a tribute to New York publisher Barney Rosset, is an entertaining reminder of the ferocity of the culture wars of the 1950s and '60s.
Tamara Straus-San Francisco Chronicle
An entertaining and engrossing film.
Dennis Schwartz-Ozus' World Movie Reviews
This film is an engaging portrait of the man and a fair assessment of his achievement.
Philip French-Observer [UK]
While the filmmakers squander some excellent opportunities that might have helped to illuminate the contradictions in their subject, this remains a fascinating study of an unrepentant American maverick.
Obscene, is melancholic. The eerie contradiction is how chirpy and cheery this remarkable activist, and self-confessed sex addict, is at more than 80 years of age.
James Christopher-Times [UK]
An entertaining docu-tribute.
Peter Bradshaw-Guardian [UK]
Brilliant social history about one of the greatest publishers of the modern epoch, even if he is "Human, All Too Human"
With testimony from scads of heyday contributors and an infectious design reflecting Grove Press's innovative cover art ... the filmmakers could have shelved the weaker bits without missing a beat.
Matthew Sorrento-Film Threat
Rosset is a lively subject, and his interviews (over many years) provide an oral history of his life and times.
Bill White-Seattle Post-Intelligencer
... a justified tribute to [Barney] Rosset, who in his mid-80s is still feisty, with a refreshingly lighthearted attitude toward all he accomplished.
Andy Klein-Los Angeles CityBeat
Though Obscene tells the story without fully exploring its nuances, that story is both fascinating and more than a little inspiring.
Noel Murray-AV Club
The doc formally mirrors its subject in its pacing, which balances the titillation/education of the doc's subject with consistent and pleasantly teasing speed and tone from start to finish.
Sara Maria Vizcarrondo-Boxoffice Magazine
Daniel O'Connor and Neil Ortenberg's engrossing documentary about the life and times of publisher Barney Rosset, who spent much of his career advancing the cause of free expression, is a flawless match of style and subject.
Maitland McDonagh-TV Guide's Movie Guide
Those who didn't live through this period and take for granted the totality of free expression enjoyed today will have their eyes opened by this homage.
Jules Brenner-Cinema Signals
Obscene is a brief, pleasant time-killer that genially preaches to the choir yet, while it's always enjoyable, this review's readers should seek Grove books out first.
Aaron Cutler-Slant Magazine
This is the kind of art house documentary that inspires the right kind of social rebellion.
New Movie Images Obscene
Movie Overview For ObsceneA look at the life and work of American publisher Barney Rosset, who struggled to bring controversial works like "Tropic of Cancer" and "Naked Lunch" to publication.
TagLine Obscene A Portrait Of Barney Rossett