Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Gore Vidal": Speaking Truth to Power

To listen to the KUCI Subversity Online podcast of our interview, recorded yesterday, with director Nicholas Wrathall,  click on:

The American literary icon, Gore Vidal, is portrayed magnificently in a new documentary by Australian Nicholas Wrathall, "Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia," screening this Saturday at Outfest Los Angeles.

Using archival footage as well as later footage he shot in Italy and Los Angeles, Wrathall, a noted documentary filmmaker (he co-directed "Abandoned" - an award-winning film on the consequences of the 1996 immigration law that led to the incarceration of many permanent residents) - manages to trace Vidal as a child of privilege through his first homosexual novel ("The City and the Pillar") to his outspoken criticism of the imperial empire that his country had turned into.   There is a revealing image of Vidal watching the presidential returns in Obama's first race and looking skeptical that Obama would be able to withstand corporate pressure.

Vidal: a literary icon
Captured on film is  Mikhail Gorbachev, in post-Glasnost days, palling around with Vidal, obvious admirers of each other.  There is also Christopher Hitchens - in a priceless scene - being ignored by Vidal as Hitchens tries to speak to Vidal - who first admired Hitchens but became disgusted with his siding with neocons (as journalist Robert Scheer notes in the film) over the Iraq War.   And of course, there is television footage from that bitchy confrontation with William F. Buckley when the National Review editor called Vidal a "faggot."

 We talk with director Wrathall (left) about why he made his film and his trips with Vidal, on Subversity Online.  We also discuss Vidal's long-term relationship with Howard Austen - and discuss whether this was a sexual relationship or platonic friendship.  The interviewer was Daniel C. Tsang, show host.

The film screens this Saturday at Outfest Los Angeles, DGA1 at 11A.M. For the entire lineup, see the Outfest LA program guide. See also ticket information. - Daniel C. Tsang.

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