William S. Burroughs' cut-up novels defy linear plot, thought and understanding; they are the ultimate expression of editor as author, which links them closely to film. Still, how do you make a movie of something like Burroughs' Naked Lunch, a crash course in perception shattered by addiction, time, space and alien beings? David Cronenberg sidestepped the problem by making a film that incorporates elements of the novel and elements of the author's life. The resulting film is a creepy, nihilistic movie about Bill Lee (Peter Weller), an exterminator hooked on his own bug killer, who shoots his wife and then flees to the sectarian violence of the Interzone, an anything-goes international zone in Northern Africa, to become a writer. Favorite Burroughsian elements such as the malevolent Dr. Benway, the sweetly open Kiki, black meat and those incantatory routines that lay out the truth of the world also feature prominently. Naked Lunch screens at 8 p.m. at Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood; 314-241-2337 or www.webster.edu/filmseries). Admission is $4.
Wed., Oct. 6, 2010