Big Sur focuses on a moment in Jack Kerouac’s life when, overwhelmed by the success of his opus On the Road and struggling with alcoholism, he retreats to his publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s cabin in the small, coastal California town of Big Sur, which eventually inspires his 1962 novel of the same name. Kerouac’s time begins with quiet moments of solitude and communing with nature. But, struck by loneliness, he hightails it to San Francisco, where he resumes drinking heavily and gets pushed into a relationship with his best friend Neal Cassady’s mistress, Billie.
While writer/director Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho) explores a less glamorous moment in Kerouac’s legacy—one of alienation and mental breakdown—Big Sur equally examines the beauty of this time in the writer’s life, witnessed in the romance of friendship and the purity of nature. Jean-Marc Barr embodies Kerouac’s intelligence and masculinity, but also portrays him at his most contemplative and vulnerable. Luscious and breathtaking, Big Sur approaches a religious cinematic experience. - K. Y.
About the Director
Filmmaker and actor Michael Polish burst onto the independent film scene in 1999 with his first feature, Twin Falls Idaho, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival. His 2000 follow-up, Jackpot, garnered the coveted Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award and the 2001 Seattle International Film Festival’s New American Cinema Award. His other credits include Northfork, which premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival; Hot Bot; and The Astronaut Farmer. Polish is a native of El Centro, California, and studied visual communications and animation at California Institute of the Arts.
Cast and Credits
Director: Michael Polish
Screenwriter: Michael Polish
Executive Producers: Mark Roberts, Eddie Vaisman, Jim Sampas
Producers: Ross Jacobson, Orian Williams, Adam Kassen, Michael Polish
Cinematographer: M. David Mullen
Production Designer: Max Biscoe
Sound Designer: Chris Sheldon
Costume Designer: Bic Owen
Principal Cast: Jean-Marc Barr, Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas, Radha Mitchell, Anthony Edwards, Henry Thomas
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