Monday, August 20, 2007

Piero Heliczer

Piero Heliczer gave a reading in London in 1960 and a recording of it survives. The recording is here.

David Lewis has written:

"Piero Heliczer was a key figure in the underground film movement in New York of the 1960s. Born in Italy, he initially broke into films after winning a talent contest at the age of four for the "most typical-looking Italian child." Heliczer played under the name of Pier Giorgio Heliczer in the two least-known commercial Italian films, typecast as the "cute fascist kid" during World War II. Tragically, when he was only seven years old, his father, a resistance fighter, was executed by Nazis allied with Mussolini. According to Heliczer's own account, he worked as an extra in Vittorio de Sica's masterwork Ladri di Biciclette (The Bicycle Thief, 1948), although this has yet to be verified. Heliczer's mother was not fond of Italian neorealism and its depiction of impoverished and dirty children, and decided to immigrate to the United States with her son sometime in the late '40s rather than attempt to further his career as a child actor. Heliczer graduated from high school in the top of his class and entered Harvard in 1955. He dropped out after two years and moved to Paris, where he established his imprint The Dead Language Press, mostly publishing his own literary works, but ultimately printing those of other authors, including Anselm Hollo, Gregory Corso, and The Beautiful Book of filmmaker Jack Smith. Heliczer's poetry was published with a fair amount of frequency in a variety of journals beside his own through about 1970."

There's plenty more here.

Heliczer lived in London from 1960-1961 and, during that time, made his first film in collaboration with fledgling British filmmaker Jeff Keen (The Autumn Feast, 1961).

Tom Raworth wrote an article about Helizer and scanned it for the web.