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For songwriter Woody Guthrie, his guitar was a machine that "kills fascists." For Lionel Rogosin, the weapon of choice was a movie camera, and his first battle was waged on the streets of New York City.
Exploring the underworld of the city`s skid row, Rogosin developed his signature style. After months drinking with men he met on the Bowery, Rogosin worked with his buddies to write a screenplay that reflected their lives-and then cast them as themselves.
On the Bowery chronicles three days in the drinking life of Ray Salyer, a part-time railroad worker adrift on New York`s skid row. When the film opened it 1956, it exploded on the screen, burning away years of Hollywood artifice, jump-starting the post-war American independent film movement and earning an Oscar nomination. Now gloriously restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, On the Bowery is both an incredible document of a bygone era and a vivid and devastating portrait of addiction that resonates today just as it did when it was made.
Good Times, Wonderful Times was Rogosin`s powerful response to militarism and fascism. For two years, Rogosin traveled to twelve countries, amassing footage of war atrocities from national archives. He then interspersed these harrowing images with scenes of a London cocktail party`s inane chatter. The juxtaposition satirizes the tragic irresponsibility of modern man. Good Times, Wonderful Times, released at the height of the Vietnam conflict, became one of the great antiwar films of the era.
Out, a documentary by Rogosin made for the United Nations, tells the plight of Hungarian refugees fleeing to Austria in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.