Obscene

Year: 2007
Country: USA
Running time: 97 mins
USA
Photography: Alexander Meillier
Editor: Tanya Ager Meillier
Music: Askold Buk
R16 offensive language, sex scenes

With: Barney Rosset, Amiri Baraka, Jim Carroll, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Al Goldstein, Erica Jong, Ray Manzarek, Michael McClure, John Rechy

Festivals: Toronto 2007
It's often businessmen who are at the forefront of censorship battles striking the decisive blows for freedom of speech. What the cynics fail to appreciate is that it's often lousy businessmen. Obscene is a highly entertaining portrait of Barney Rosset, one of the most adventurous English-language publishers of the 20th -century, and one of the great unsung heroes of free expression. He was a man with an instinct for the cutting edge: among his initial publications was Waiting for Godot. But it was the printing of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" that launched his first legal battle over obscenity. In the years that followed he fought long and hard to publish now classic titles such as Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer, Naked Lunch and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The still feisty Rosset makes it clear: picking fights in defence of sex and drugs and insurgence may often be necessary, and can even be fun, but is no way to make a fortune. Bravo him. — BG