Bruce Baillie – Quick Billy (1971)


First, the long awaited release of Bruce Baillie’s 1971 Masterpiece with a capital M (the first five minutes will make your head spin) Quick Billy. This third release is available through Canyon Cinema , $50 for home use and $300 for institutional use. An immense amount of sacrifice and effort went into the creation of this DVD, so sincere gratitude is owed to many (especially Baillie himself and John Carlson, who aided with the transfer and color coding). The beauty of the film is difficult to put into words, but as Bruce Elder says of the film:

“One masterwork in the cinema that depicts the process by which its maker attempts to recover the true self — or, if not the true self, an authentic self that enters into uncorrupting relations with the world beyond it — is Bruce Baillie’s ‘Quick Billy (1970). Here an attack on the body, a bout with yellow fever, brings Baillie to confront his mortality. This confrontation brings him to revise his understanding of himself, his family, his personal history, and his goals. ‘Quick Billy’ tells the tale of his falling ill, of his becoming delirious and delusional and experiencing memories of his former self, of his transformation, and of his rebirth as authentic individual. While Baillie patter the film on the ‘Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead)’, the matrix from which ‘Quick Billy’ arises is really Gnosticism. Like the similarly Gnostic/Eleusian ‘Cantos’ of Ezra Pound, ‘Quick Billy’ is a tale of going into the underworld, experiencing terror, undergoing transformation, and being reborn. The agency that brings on the transformation in both cases is the experience of light.”
– (Bruce Elder in ‘A Body of Vision’)


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  1. The link has expired. Would they be so kind to replace it? thank you

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