Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society
by Steve Dollar

Dead men tell no tales, yet through the magic of the moving image they find a new kind of life, not in the flesh but the flickering resurrection of their own archives. Spalding Gray left behind 120 hours of film and video when he died in January 2004, following a jump off the Staten Island Ferry, a fateful occurrence that came as a shock to the public. Family and friends of the actor and monologist had long coped with his suicidal tendencies, which had been aggravated by brain damage from a dreadful 2001 car crash in Ireland. The circumstances of the accident are touched on, and poignantly so, but the very end of Gray"s life isn"t part of And Everything Is Going Fine. Steven Soderbergh fashioned the new documentary out of old home movies, low-key documentary footage, TV interviews and ghosty videotapes of Gray"s early performances in the late 1970s - before filmed versions of shows like Swimming to Cambodia, Monster in a Box and the director"s own Gray"s Anatomy made Gray an unlikely household name beyond the downtown Manhattan avant-garde theater scene he helped to invent when he co-founded The Wooster Group in 1975.


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