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Left on Purpose

  • Directed by: Justin Schein
  • USA, 2015, 85 minutes
  • In English
  • Southeast premiere
  • Rated Unrated

Riding the slope from promising youth to forgotten old age is not easy. For legendary anti-war activist Mayer Vishner, it was intolerable. In the ‘60s, Vishner was a core member of The Yippies, along with Paul Krassner, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and others. The Yippies used humor, sarcasm, and street theater as tools to question authority—grabbing the attention of the press and the imagination of the youth culture. Eventually, their movement imploded and Vishner—brilliant, debonair, and doomed by clinical depression—spiraled downward. Forty years later, he lives in a grimy West Village apartment, an alcoholic with a few cats, lost in the modern world. Filmmaker Justin Schein approached him to make a film about the legacy of his counter-culture generation, but the project turned into a dark and profoundly humorous journey through what Mayer called his “existential project.” Quite simply, Vishner wanted to kill himself, and he wanted the documentarian to document his “last political act.” Dragged into the middle of his own film, Schein questions his responsibilities as a filmmaker, friend, and human being. Should he stop filming? Will this cause Vishner to end his life sooner? Can he use the film to prevent Vishner from carrying out the plan?  The answers don't come easy.

Preceded by

The 414s: The Original Teenage Hackers

In 1983, a group of Milwaukee teens broke into dozens of high-profile computer systems, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Their story generated a media frenzy, frightening a pre-internet nation ignorant of the word “hacker.”