Noted gay experimental filmmaker Jack Walsh has created a sort of autobiographical magnum opus in “The Lost Generation,” which muses on his life and times from an angsty middle-age perspective. Baby-boomer peers at gay fests will hear bells of recognition as pic reviews familiar lifestyle vogues and historical milestones. But despite avant-garde veneer, there’s nothing very striking or original going on stylistically, and helmer’s navel-gazing insights too often verge on the banal.
Home movies, photos and archival materials noting larger cultural events are interwoven with new footage using highway travel as a rather obvious metaphor for life’s journey. Raised in Philly, Walsh awoke to nonconformist impulses after the Kent State shootings. Key life milestones are antiwar activism, coming out, typical ’70s hedonism (especially after he moved to San Francisco at the height of the Gay Lib movement), frustration as an artist, a successful longterm relationship, dealing with the AIDS crisis. Some interesting details (his stint at American Zoetrope, a long battle with alcoholism) are passed over too quickly, while incessant voiceover narration (oddly, not by Walsh himself but by Eric Newton) tends toward cliched, pretentious or pseudo-poetical verbiage.