I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...
So begins Howl, the epic free verse poem written by Allen Ginsberg. Howl is considered a modern classic today but in 1957 was the focus of an obscenity trial due to the texts uncensored mention of drug use and homosexuality. The poem and its author are the subjects of the movie Howl, a 2010 biopic.
Allen Ginsberg was a member of the Beat Generation of authors who formed in the 1950s; other notable members include Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. The group formed an anti-conformist underground movement that became known as 'bohemian hedonism'. Many of the elements of the Beat Generation were eventually absorbed into the hippie lifestyle.
Howl is an experimental, non-linear movie that covers the life and works of Allen Ginsberg, especially the 1957 obscenity trial. James Franco stars as Ginsberg, Jon Hamm plays his defence attorney and theatre actor Aaron Tveit is Ginsberg's life partner; Jeff Daniels and Mary-Louise Parker also appear.