If “House of Floyd in Big Sur” was Sven the Hippie’s “On the Waterfront,” than “Yack K” is his “A Touch of Evil.” (?)
Never before has Sven plunged to such murky, yet technicolor, subterranean* depths. Sven’s experience lends credence to the theory that to your mind must disintegrate before you can put it back together again. Very intense.
The film was created to celebrate the August 14th screening of “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur,” the fantastic collaboration between Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard. The move traces the origins of Kerouac’s “Big Sur,” which documented his not-so-pleasant retreat from Beat stardom while renting out Ferlinghetti’s cabin in Bixby Canyon. If “On the Road” was joyous and librerating, “Big Sur” is stiffling, uncomfortable, and tragic, as Kerouac speaks of his psychological meltdown in candid, impressionistic detail.
It is into this mythical narrative than Sven steps, seeking to attain satori and purge his Swedish soul of unspeakable – and as yet, unidentified – demons.
* That was a Kerouac pun.
Sven the Hippie movies are kind of like children. You say you love them all equally, but deep down, you love on the most.
That said, even if I did love “What is House of Floyd?” the most, I wouldn’t say.
I’ll say this, though: from a character-perspective, he we begin to see Sven the hopeless romantic, the lost soul, the drifter, the Swede in search of acceptance, love. Pathos ensues. Powerful stuff.
Ahh, nothing like movie night in Big Sur. The redwoods. The stars. The LSD jokes. Last week’s installment: Huxley on Huxley, a film about the prescient, hulking-yet-gentle, and tweed-clad British writer-genius Aldlous Huxley, told through the eyes and voice of his second wife, Laura Archera.
It was a hoot, especially for this Huxley neophyte. What was especially telling was his prescience about the extinction of fossil fuels, namely oil, and his fear of religious lunatics. Of course, these ideas made their way into Brave New World, but seeing him speak to Mike Wallace of CBS in 1955 about the very same issues we’re dealing with now was downright eerie.
What was also cool was how the director addressed his relationships to mind-altering drugs, like LSD. Huxley was no Tim Leary. Huxley took that stuff super-seriously, unlike Leary, who wanted everyone dosed (even Nixon!) It’s like, y’know, with great power comes great responsibility.
There was the obligatory Doors reference too, with an interview from their drummer, whose name currently escapes me. At least it wasn’t Manzarek. Anyway, if Huxley did turn the Doors and Jim Morrison on to acid, the chap has a lot of explaining to do, what with that “Mr. MOJO RISING” bit in “LA Woman.” I mean, really.