Milton Moses Ginsberg

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Milton Moses Ginsberg
OccupationDirector, Writer, Editor,
Spouse(s)Nina Posnansky

Milton Moses Ginsberg is a film director and editor most famous for writing and directing Coming Apart, a 1969 film starring Rip Torn and Sally Kirkland, and The Werewolf of Washington starring Dean Stockwell. Born in 1943, Ginsberg is based in New York City. He married painter Nina Posnansky in 1983.

Coming Apart[edit]

In 1969, Ginsberg directed his first feature film. Coming Apart starred Rip Torn as a mentally disturbed psychologist who secretly films his sexual encounters with women. Sally Kirkland, who was simultaneously filming Futz! at the time, also stars.[1] The film was shot in a one-room, 15'x17' apartment in Kips Bay Plaza, on a budget of 60,000 dollars. Shooting lasted three weeks.

Ginsberg filmed the entire movie with one static camera setup, in a manner simulating a non-constructed "fake documentary" style, influenced by Jim McBride's David Holzman's Diary.[2]

Critical reception was mixed. Life reviewer Richard Schickel praised Torn's performance, Ginsberg's inventive use of camera and sound, and the "illuminating" portrayal of a schizophrenic breakdown.[3] But critic Andrew Sarris gave it a less-favorable review, and the film was a commercial failure.

The film has since attained a cult following among critics and filmmakers.[4][5]

Subsequent work[edit]

In 1973, Ginsberg wrote and directed the satirical horror film The Werewolf of Washington starring Dean Stockwell. Eschewing the minimalism of his previous feature, Ginsberg demonstrated a more technically complex film style.[6]

After a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 1975, Ginsberg became depressed and withdrew from filmmaking. He returned to directing in 1999 and 2001, with the short films The City Below the Line and The Haloed Bird.[7][8]

Since his last feature film, Ginsberg has primarily made a living as a film editor,[9] working on two Academy Award-winning documentaries, Down and Out in America and The Personals, among others. More recently, he edited the miniseries Fidel for director David Attwood.


  1. ^ Smith, Howard. "Rip Torn, Sally Kirkland, and the Sexual Revolution on Stage and Film" The Village Voice, March 13, 1969
  2. ^ Horwath, Alexander. (2004) "A Walking Contradiction (Partly True and Partly Fiction)" The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press ISBN 90-5356-493-4
  3. ^ Schickel, Richard. "Cracking Up On Camera" Life, October 17, 1969
  4. ^ Smith, Dinitia. "After 'Coming Apart,' a Life Did Just That(1978). The New York Times, September 10, 1998
  5. ^ Kawin, Bruce. “Coming Apart: The Mind as Camera.” Mindscreen: Bergman, Godard, and first-person film. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978
  6. ^ Puchalski, Steven. (2002) Slimetime: A Guide to Sleazy, Mindless Movies. Manchester: Headpress ISBN 1-900486-21-0
  7. ^ Ginsberg, Milton Moses. “How to Fall Into Oblivion and Take Your Movie With You.” Film Comment 35.1 January–February 1999
  8. ^ Smith, Dinitia. "After 'Coming Apart,' a Life Did Just That(1978). The New York Times, September 10, 1998
  9. ^ Smith, Dinitia. "After 'Coming Apart,' a Life Did Just That(1978). The New York Times, September 10, 1998

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