Roy's World: Barry Gifford's Chicago (plus Q+A) (2020)

  • Documentary, Animation, Music
  • 1h 15m

No longer available

A 1950s Chicago of gangsters, jazz bars and showgirls is vividly evoked in this moody documentary portrait of American author and poet Barry Gifford, screenwriter on David Lynch’s Wild at Heart and Lost Highway and author of over 40 other novels and screenplays. Gifford’s personal recollections of the city of his birth, of his parents, of racketeers, and of his thoughts on writing, alternate with a series of autobiographical stories about the adventures of Roy, a boy growing up in a gritty but characterful Chicago neighbourhood. Against a captivating backdrop of archive footage, sketchbook animations and vintage photographs, Gifford’s anecdote-laden tales, voiced by Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor and Gifford himself, spring joyously to life, all accompanied by a beguiling original jazz soundtrack (by Jason Adasiewicz). A memorable glimpse of a lost time and place, which David Lynch fans will not want to miss.

Click here to watch a recording of the live streamed Q+A with Barry Gifford and director Rob Christopher which followed our launch screening on Friday 12th June.

“Barry Gifford is a killer f***in’ writer… Roy’s World captures his childhood and that time in Chicago, and many other places. I really love that world and the things that can happen there” - David Lynch.

“There is plenty to Gifford’s story that will keep an audience engaged… Moody, poignant and rich in humour, the documentary unfolds with something of the character of a shaggy dog story.” Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film.

“The individual chapters - dealing with anecdotes about a father’s jealousy, a mother’s shame in being a divorcee - are sharply focused little snapshots of a life, vividly realised… Adding to the grungy, down-at-heel glamour of the visuals is a terrific jazz score, heavy on sleazy brass and vibraphone.” - Wendy Ide, Screendaily.


Barry Gifford, Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor


Rob Christopher



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