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THOMAS PYNCHON: A JOURNEY INTO THE MIND OF [P.]

Germany, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Documentaries)

Director: Fosco Dubini, Donatello Dubini

Regarded by some as the greatest writer since the second world war, by others as unreadable, most literary critics will agree that in the past 50 years few English-speaking authors have had such a profound effect on literature - whilst remaining so utterly enigmatic - as America's Thomas Pynchon. After publishing his first novel, V., in 1963 (a wartime novel that makes Catch 22 seem a linear read) Pynchon opted out of public view, refusing interviews and requests for his picture to be taken. In spite of winning the National Book Award for his most famous novel, Gravity's Rainbow, in 1973, he has maintained a life in shadows.

In what can only seem like mission impossible, this impeccably researched documentary pieces together testimonies and evidence to fill in the many blanks on this reclusive novelist. Not an easy task considering Pynchon's academic and military records mysteriously 'disappeared'. Using Pynchon's novels as source material, the film guides those familiar and unfamiliar with his work through speculations about his character and motivations - placing his work in broader literary context. The film not only plays out like a Pynchon novel, but traces deep into the X-Files-like conspiracy theories and counter-culture musings that so informed his work.

Fosco and Donatello Dubini were born in Zurich, in 1954 and 1955 respectively. They have collaborated on numerous films, including Blindgänger (1983), The Disappearance of Ettore Majorana (1986), Ludwig 1881 (1993), Jean Seberg: American Actress (1995) and The Journey to Kafiristan (2001).

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