What Is It?

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For the Baby Bash song, see What Is It.
What Is It?
Directed by Crispin Glover
Produced by Crispin Glover
Matt Devlen
Ryan Page
Mike Pallagi
Written by Crispin Glover
Starring Crispin Glover
Fairuza Balk
Michael Blevis
Rikky Wittman
John Insinna
Kelly Swiderski
Lisa Fusco
Cinematography Wyatt Troll
Edited by Crispin Glover
Release dates
  • January 27, 2005 (2005-01-27)
Running time
72 minutes
Country United States
Language English

What Is It? is a 2005 surrealist film written, starring, funded and directed by Crispin Glover. It is described by IMDb as "The adventures of a young man whose principal interests are snails, salt, a pipe, and how to get home. As tormented by an hubristic, racist inner psyche." As of 2008, the film has only been shown at independent theaters, typically accompanied by a question-and-answer session, a one-hour dramatic narration of eight different profusely illustrated books as a slideshow, and a meet-and-greet/book signing with Glover.

The film boasts an eclectic and unusual cast. Glamour models Kiva and Zoryna Dreams, as well as several other women, appear nude wearing animal heads. Most of the principal actors have Down syndrome (though this condition is not addressed in the film). Fairuza Balk lends her voice to a real snail, and Glover's role in the film is officially described as "Dueling Demi-God Auteur and The young man's inner psyche." The film includes images of a painting of a prepubescent Shirley Temple in the nude, and songs by cult leader Charles Manson and racist singer Johnny Rebel, and deals with many types and symbols of racism and prejudice. Glover defended his choices of imagery in a 2005 interview: "It's a film to help start these kinds of discussions. What is taboo, and what does that mean for the culture itself when taboo is ubiquitously excised in corporately funded and distributed film? A culture will die a death of stupidity if it doesn't have different points of view and questions that are raised." Glover made clear when touring with the film that he had no plans to sell it to a major studio nor release for home viewing.

What Is It? is the first in a planned trilogy, to be followed by It Is Fine. Everything Is Fine! and It Is Mine.[1]






  1. ^ "Glover's 'What Is It?' aptly describes film". The Salt Lake Tribune. July 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 

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