The Movie Called Big Sur

Nothing ever happened – Not even this. ― Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Streaming images flow side by side with the streaming words of Jack Kerouac as he visits and then runs away from the land of Big Sur. Jack ebbs and flows from this landscape in the same way that he ebbs and flows from everything in his life, his women, his alcohol, his writing, his friends … until the darkness takes over. It is the isolation of Big Sur that makes him look within himself, more out of boredom than from any one other influence.

The imagery in this film made me remember, although it is never very far back in my memory, my love of Big Sur and my desire to go live there. The Escape Pod has taken me into Bixby Canyon, but just for a moment. I know where it is, but to be honest, I always think of Bixby Canyon as Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Prvate Hideaway and never wanted to trespass.

If you love The Beat writers, you’ll like the movie. If you love Kerouac’s work, you’ll like this movie. If you don’t know his work, you may not. The cinematography is beautiful and the film is toned to the era. Jean-Marc Barr, the actor who played Kerouac, reading Kerouac’s lines sounded and flowed exactly as I imagine the words flowed through Jack’s brain as he typed them out on the typewriter.

On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word. ― Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Now streaming on Netflix.

You can also read my take on Big Sur: Conversation’s With Henry Miller’s Ghost

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