James Broughton’s advice, “Follow your own Weird,” animates the documentary BIG JOY: THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BROUGHTON, which shows how this little-known queer filmmaker and poet fought against the grain of dominant culture to live an authentic life.
Years before the Beats arrived in San Francisco, the city exploded with artistic expressions: painting, theatre, film, poetry. At its center was the groundbreaking filmmaker and poet James Broughton. BIG JOY explores Broughton's passionate embrace of a life of pansexual transcendence and a fiercely independent mantra: 'follow your own weird.' His remarkable story spans the post-war San Francisco Renaissance, his influence on the Beat generation, escape to Europe during the McCarthy years, a lifetime of acclaim for his joyous experimental films and poetry celebrating the human body, finding his soulmate at age 61, and finally, his ascendancy as a revered bard of sexual liberation.
3 day rental • NR • 82 min.
“Even at its most on-the-nose, Big Joy serves the greater good of introducing viewers to its subject, whose voice rings clear throughout.”
— The Village Voice
“BIG JOY, filmed with an irresistibly playful spirit, dances with words, film clips and images from a long and, it seems, mostly joyous life.’
— Seattle Times
“A film that not only makes the case of its subject's talent but, even more importantly, is itself an expression of joy that James Broughton would love.”
— Film Threat
“Completely engrossing, rich and humane documentary about the life of a too-little known pioneer in life and art.”
— Film Journal International