Not only is this documentary a superbly well-assembled biography of the notorious author-commentator, but it's also a bracingly clear-eyed look at the America most people don't want to admit exists. The late Gore Vidal was a thorn in society, using his snappy intelligence to speak the truth even if it left him persona non grata. But when asked about his legacy, he famously replied, "I couldn't care less."
This echoes in his main message that America is resolutely ignoring its own history. "We miraculously forget everything," he said. "The lessons we should be learning we will have forgotten in no time at all." But history was his passion, as he wrote novels, plays, films and essays about the USA's evolution from a republic to an empire. No one wanted to hear this, even as he astutely noted how the nation essentially turned into a military monolith after WWII, and then became even more driven after 9/11, waging war without provocation or respect for any other country while using the Patriot Act to remove fundamental rights of habeas corpus and due process at home.
Filmmaker Wrathall packs the film with interview footage, allowing Vidal to narrate his own story and deliver his own lacerating comments (there's also narration from his literary executor Parini). And the screen is littered with Vidal's pithy, eerily astute remarks about politics ("Our form of democracy is bribery on the highest scale") and life in general ("Love is a fan club with only two fans"). This is all set within the framework of Vidal's life story. Descended from a long line of authors, politicians and innovators, he was raised to be a deep, free thinker. So it's no wonder that he took on society's "basic values", which he knew were false notions of what is natural.
Continue reading: Gore Vital: The United States Of Amnesia Review
Mikhail Gorbachev and Paley Center for Media Sunday 29th April 2012 Former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev at the 'Cold War: The Complete Series' screening at The Paley Center for Media.
The hypothesis comes from John F Kennedy: "Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness." And gifted filmmaker Walker kicks off with images of horrific terrorist attacks all over the world, noting that if terrorists get hold of nuclear weapons they won't hesitate to use them. Especially since al-Qaeda's stated goal is to kill 4 million people, as many as they say the West has killed in the Arab world.
Continue reading: Countdown To Zero Review
Mikhail Gorbachev, granddaughter Anastasia Birganskaya and Hampton Court Palace - Mikhail Gorbachev and granddaughter Anastasia Birganskaya London, England - The Raisa Gorbachev Foundation Third Annual Gala Dinner at Hampton Court Palace Saturday 7th June 2008
Not only is this documentary a superbly well-assembled biography of the notorious author-commentator, but it's...