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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Blog, Movie Reviews, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

Gore Vidal and the United States of Amnesia




Gore Vidal had style.

He once famously wrote, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to do, and not giving a damn.”

The controversial writer and perpetual protagonist certainly knew who he was.  He knew precisely what he wanted to do.  And there’s little doubt that he didn’t give a damn what others either said or thought.  It matters not where you’re positioned on the political map — one has to admire that feisty spirit.

Gore Vidal also had substance.

Among his numerous non-fiction essays, stage plays, novels, screenplays, and teleplays, perhaps his most famous creation was the script he co-wrote and collaborated on for the epic masterpiece, Ben-Hur. which won “Best Picture,” and still holds the record for the most Oscar’s in history.  Then there was Suddenly, Last Summer, Is Paris Burning, Billy the Kid, and the infamously awful Caligula.  Those works merely scratch the surface of a deeper, far more complex man filled with many peculiarities and even more questions.  Yet he was never afraid to reveal uncertainty nor vulnerability.

Aside from receiving widespread acclaim as a writer, Vidal was often at his very best during interviews and debates.  He famously got into bitter rows with brass-knuckled intellectuals Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley.  His razor tongue often left interviewers speechless.  His unrehearsed rants and musings were legendary.  When Vidal appeared, one never knew what he might say.


Filmmaker Nicholas D. Wrathall recently completed a documentary about Vidal’s wondrously vibrant life.  Ironically, his biography reads better than many of the novels he authored.  Gore Vidal and the United States of Amnesia celebrates the late icon’s feisty spirit, while reminding us all that a lone voice of dissent is sometimes the supreme act of patriotism.

From the movie’s website:

No twentieth-century figure has had a more profound effect on the worlds of literature, film, politics, historical debate, and the culture wars than Gore Vidal. Anchored by intimate one-on-one interviews with the man himself, Nicholas Wrathall’s new documentary is a fascinating and wholly entertaining portrait of the last lion of the age of American liberalism. Commentary by those who knew him best-including filmmaker/nephew Burr Steers and the late Christopher Hitchens-blends with footage from Vidal’s legendary on-air career to remind us why he will forever stand as one of the most brilliant and fearless critics of our time. Gore Vidal’s professional life spans more than 50 years of American politics and letters. His return to America in 2005 marked the last great stage in his creative career and this film represents an extraordinary opportunity to share his view on America in the twenty-first century. Featuring candid vérité footage of Vidal in his final years, the film explores his enduring global impact on art, politics, and everything in between. His overview of the current state of the Republic and the health of US democracy is unique and incisive. This is Gore Vidal’s last word and testimony.  LINK HERE

The film is being released this summer.  Here’s the movie trailer:



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