The Living End

Director: Gregg Araki
Screenwriters: Gregg Araki

Institute History


Gregg Araki's The Living End, which debuted at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, is a buddy movie gone bad; Luke (Mike Dytri) and Jon (Craig Gilmore) are literally on the road to nowhere. Luke is a rootless hustler who's determined to "live fast, die young, and make a beautiful corpse," while Jon is a freelance writer whose life and stability are devastated when he finds out he's HIV positive. They meet by chance (or is it fate?), and when Luke kills a cop, they take to the road. A casual affair leads to mutual dependence and a lasting bond. As Luke tells Jon, "Don't you get it? We're not like them. We don't have as much time, so we have to grab life by the balls and go for it."

Araki traps the characters close to the camera or isolates them against sterile or desolate landscapes, made luminous by Christopher Münch's surreal lighting. Most of the people they meet are alienated or hostile, which only deepens their isolation. The film's title encapsulates the paradox that becomes their lives.

Strand Releasing and Fortissimo Films have completely remastered the film for this screening, cleaning up the original 16mm print and transferring it to HD, recolor-timing it, and totally remixing the soundtrack. In giving a vibrant voice to the speechless and disenfranchised, The Living End makes a welcome addition to the Sundance Collection.

— Barbara Bannon

Screening Details

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