Hello, everyone! My name is Cayla, and I work on curation here at VRV! I wanted to start up a recurring feature called Cayla’s Friday Selection where I talk about some of my favorite stuff on VRV.


Today, we’re talking about Howl.

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Howl is an interesting mix of biopic, courtroom drama, and surreal animated poetry reading. Focusing on beat poet Allen Ginsberg (played here by James Franco), the movie acts more like a continuous story and more like three separate short films that cut between each other.

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One part of Howl is comprised of a fictionalized interview with Ginsberg where he recounts various aspects of his young adult life, creative process, and general outlook. Another part is a dramatization of the obscenity trials Ginsberg’s work was subject to. The last, and certainly most visually interesting piece of the puzzle, is a reading of the entirety of Howl accompanied by hallucinogenic animated sequences.

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While its scope is ambitious, the film impressively manages to synthesize these three disparate narratives into a cohesive whole — details of Ginsberg’s life give depth to the courtroom proceedings, which illuminates the animated poetry sequences, which in turn help alleviate the dryness of the more realistic segments.

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It’s a strange beast, but Howl is certainly worth a watch! Check it out on VRV Select today!