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Uncle Howard (2016)

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Director Howard Brookner died of AIDS in NYC in 1989 while in post-production on his breakthrough Hollywood movie. His body of work has been buried for 30 years in William Burroughs' bunker... See full summary »


Aaron Brookner


Aaron Brookner (concept)
6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aaron Brookner ... Himself
John Giorno John Giorno ... Himself
Jim Jarmusch ... Himself
Tom DiCillo ... Himself
Elaine Brookner Elaine Brookner ... Herself
James Grauerholz James Grauerholz ... Himself
Stewart Meyer Stewart Meyer ... Himself
Brad Gooch Brad Gooch ... Himself
Hisami Kuroiwa Hisami Kuroiwa ... Herself
Sara Driver ... Herself
Robert Wilson Robert Wilson ... Himself
Lindsay Law Lindsay Law ... Himself
Frédéric Mitterrand Frédéric Mitterrand ... Himself
Kim Massee Kim Massee ... Herself
Richard Shone Richard Shone ... Himself


Director Howard Brookner died of AIDS in NYC in 1989 while in post-production on his breakthrough Hollywood movie. His body of work has been buried for 30 years in William Burroughs' bunker until his nephew Aaron unearths his uncle's story and the memory of everything he was. Written by Pinball London Ltd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

January 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Smash the Control Machine See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pinball London See more »
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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In Mirrors
Written by Colin Stetson and Ben Frost
Performed by Colin Stetson
Courtesy of Just Isn't Music o/b/o Third Side Music
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User Reviews

Searching celluloid for what remains
15 March 2018 | by backwardsirisSee all my reviews

Going into this documentary, I don't think I had researched it as much as the other films I've picked to screen at SIFF 2016. I must've just seen "William Burroughs" & "Jim Jarmusch", threw my hands up & exclaimed, "That does it! I must see this!". Needless to say, the subject matter went above & beyond my simplistic expectations. While this is a movie about a nephew (Aaron Brookner) trying to piece together the life & works of his uncle, filmmaker Howard Brookner, it is also a movie about something much deeper & broader. While it was a delight to watch clips & outtakes from Howard Brookner's film Burroughs: The Movie, moments from home movies of Brookner's family, and follow the present-day storyline of Aaron Brookner delving into storage lockers, picking the brains of his uncle's friends, and trying to pry reels of film from the caretaker of Burrough's Bowery apartment "The Bunker", the real meat of the film was a much more poignant tale. In the smaller scope, it is a tale about what one man could accomplish in such a truncated life--about living to the fullest & doing what makes you happy, regardless what those around you may think. It is about a life cut short by AIDS. In the broader sense, it is an open-ended question with no possible answer--what did we, as a society, lose because of the AIDS crisis? While I cried tears of sorrow for a talent like Howard's taken too soon, for the palpable lasting sadness of his family & friends, for the anguish of those around me who lived through this and lost their loved ones & partners, I also cried tears of anger. What if those in power had taken this epidemic more seriously & much sooner? Would we be watching a retrospective of Howard Brookner's work made up of 15-20+ movies & not just 3? Could our culture have been guided towards acceptance of all our beautiful variations & colors more gracefully if a generation of thinkers, artists & unique souls had not been ravaged by this outbreak? It is impossible to inventory the scope of such a loss, unlike the boxes of celluloid rotting in a Bowery basement--but indeed, it is a profound loss that can never be recovered.

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