or the Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman.
Fred Barney Taylor’s captivating documentary depicts the intense life of Samuel R. Delany. This self-described “ordinary, dull, Black faggot” has been a rebellious pioneer who closed up the white male universe of science fiction to issues of race, gender and sexuality. In a career that spans over forty years he has authored more than 40 books, including works of fiction, critical essays, memoirs, pornography and several issues of Wonder Woman. In his personal life, Delany has managed to confound social norms by being married for 19 years to a bisexual white woman – poet Marilyn Hacker – while tirelessly cruising New York gay sexual underground. The documentary captures him while retelling the story and tracing a lost geography of highly symbolic New York districts such as Times Square, Harlem and the East Village. By juxtaposing Delany’s flow of memories, readings and archive footage with mesmerizing imagery of the city, The Polymath expresses in vivid detail the complexities of an eclectic intellectual.
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A brisk documentary…With his big white beard and bearish girth, Delany makes a warm impression, and Taylor’s understated direction, featuring simple images that prod Delany’s recollections gently along, makes the film a lively and thoughtful look at a deeply lived-in life. – The New Yorker
Compelling docu merits further exposure via fests and artscasters, though the subject’s frankness about his prodigious sexual history won’t tempt PBS. Called “a philosophical, confessional and creative genius,” (Delany’s) multifaceted life and passions are conveyed in a mosaic form utilizing artfully composited archival imagery. Variety
Although this highly erudite fellow—author of the sci-fi classic Dhalgren and the pornotopic Deuce memoir Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, among zillions of others—describes himself as “the world’s most ordinary, boring, dull black faggot,” Fred Barney Taylor’s doc will convince you otherwise in the first two minutes. Delany really does know—and has done—everything. Time Out New York
The Polymath is curated by Miriam Tola ([email protected]).
Fred Barney Taylor’s 30-year career has consisted of a combination of cultural interests, travel, filmmaking and teaching.He has made films in North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. He has developed and taught film and video programs in England and Mexico as well as New York. His films have appeared on Discovery Network’s Travel Channel, PBS and have been screened at festivals in North and Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.
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