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The Junky’s Christmas

Posted by martinteller on May 23, 2012

I’m not nearly as familiar with William S. Burroughs as I should be.  When I was much younger, I tried to read Naked Lunch and although I’d seen the movie I didn’t put enough effort to it and didn’t get very far.  I mostly know him through his memorable appearance in Drugstore Cowboy and some of his spoken recordings.  Including “The Junky’s Christmas,” though I’d forgotten I’d heard it before until about halfway through.  Bookended by live-action scenes of Burroughs (first sitting down to read us his story, like a kindly old grandfather, and at the end enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner with what I assume are his actual friends), it’s a stop-motion animated telling of a tale about a junkie trying to score on a dismal Xmas day, when the opportunity to commit an act of generosity presents itself.  It’s a really genuine and even moving (in a bleak way) story, and the animation works surprisingly well with the noir-ish lighting and seedy aesthetic.  The only problem is the music (a mix of standard Christmas carols and original score by Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy) sometimes overwhelms the narration, making Burroughs difficult to understand.  Rating: Very Good


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