Hubert Selby Jr.: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow
B-†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: B†††† Program: A
enough people know about Hubert Selby Jr. and if they do happen to have heard
the name itís most likely because they scanned the credits of the few movies
based on his novels. †Selby was born in
Brooklyn in 1928, cut out of school the first chance he got, and joined the
merchant marines just like his father. †He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and soon
began a series of surgeries and treatments that would lead down the road to
addiction Ė painkillers then heroin.
the merchant marines, Selby drifted around unfit for most kinds of paying
labor. †It was desperation that led him
to put an old card table out back of the place he was living and set his typewriter
on top. †He wrote long letters to
everyone he knew. It was his strategy to learn how to write. †Eventually, he composed his first novel, Last
Exit To Brooklyn. †It was
published in 1964 by Grove Press. †It was
soon followed by Requiem For A Dream, The Room, The Demon, and more.
Shiffrinís documentary tracks Selbyís life and career from gutter punk to
university instructor. †Among the
interviewed are Selby, Richard Price, Jerry Stahl, Darren Aronofsky and Gilbert
Sorrentino. †Interspersed among the
interviews are clips of Selby reading from his books and scenes from the films.
is a harrowing tale. †His heroin
addiction almost destroyed him and cost him all the money he made from his
first book. †But he continued to write
and to mete out a meager existence for himself. †Never a big name in America, Selbyís
reputation has been mostly as a cult writer; although, in Europe he enjoyed a
much greater renown.
It/ll Be Better Tomorrow is a well made piece of work. †Itís certainly worth viewing if only for all
of the footage of Selby. †It would sound
like griping to suggest that the filmmakers could have gone deeper into their
subject matter. †As interesting as this
documentary is, it still feels a little cursory. †Still, thatís a mild complaint. †I suppose itís enough, for the moment, that
even this film exists.
-†† Kristofer Collins