Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy

Nancy Buirski, USA 2022, 101’
Polish premiere
Bonnie Fragments of Paradise

A fascinating story about John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy and the turbulent times in which it was made. A documentary about one of the most important films in the history of Hollywood, enriched with social and political context, archival photographs, fragments of film chronicles and memories of the artists involved in the production.

Perhaps the most explicit and emotionally intense film of the New Hollywood era — and yet in its “Odd Couple” theme and wistful sensibility a profoundly Old Hollywood film, too — “Midnight Cowboy” remains littered with contradictions. Gay and tender, its representation of sex is vile. It’s nostalgic and hopeless; a celebration of the counter-culture and, seemingly, an indictment of its decadence. All that makes Nancy Buirski’s new documentary about its production and legacy more interesting.

‘Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy’ Review: A Tribute to a New Hollywood Classic (

Jakub Demiańczuk

Nancy Buirski

Nancy Buirski is the founder and was the director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the acclaimed international festival based in Durham, NC. Buirski produced five collections of documentary shorts in collaboration with Docurama and The Katrina Experience, a collection of feature-length documentaries for libraries and schools. She served as the executive producer of Pangea Day Film Content. Prior to her work in film, she was a documentary photographer, writing and photographing Earth Angels: Migrant Children in America, and the foreign picture editor at „The New York Times.”


2011 The Loving Story (doc.)

2013 Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clerq (doc.)

2015 By Sidney Lumet (doc.)

2017 Gwałt na Recy Taylor / The Rape of Recy Taylor (doc.)

2020 A Crime on the Bayou (doc.)

2022 Wygłodniałe dusze w wielkim mieście. Legenda Nocnego kowboja / Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy (doc.)

Cast & Crew

director Nancy Buirski
screenplay Nancy Buirski
cinematography Rex Miller
editing Anthony Ripoli
cast Jon Voight, Bob Balaban, Brian De Palma, Adam Holender
producer Nancy Buirski, Simon Kilmurry, Susan Margolin
production Augusta Films
sales Nancy Buirski
language English
coloration colour
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