Film trailer: James Franco in ‘Howl’

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The Independent Culture

Set in San Francisco in the 1950s, Howl, starring James Franco, is the story of Allen Ginsberg, his groundbreaking poem "Howl" and the landmark obscenity trial that eventually followed its publication.

The impressive cast includes Jon Hamm ( Mad Men), David Strathairn ( The Bourne Ultimatum), Jeff Daniels ( Away We Go) and Mary-Louise Parker ( Solitary Man).

The trailer is a montage of images and excerpted shots from the film, showing scenes from the trial, Ginsberg writing and historical footage of the times. Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, known for their documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, the film is a hybrid form and includes animation.

Howl was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the poem. It played the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlinale. It finally opens in limited release in the US on September 24.

Last seen on the big screen in Milk, Franco has appeared on the daytime American soap General Hospital as a deranged artist named Franco. Next he appears in Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts opening this August, and is set to release 127 Hours, the new film by Danny Boyle ( Slumdog Millionaire).