Documentaries: Part 2

I said last week that I would let you know my thoughts on the Gore Vidal documentary: Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia that I was seeing, courtesy of DocHouse.

gore vidal doc

So, fulfilling my promise I would like to say that I am reeeeling from Thursday’s screening at the ICA and have come away from the film in reverence of the American writer/critic/politician, hugely more informed (having known very little to begin with), and inspired to head to the library at the weekend to take out some of his novels/essays. I’ve also decided to brush up on my American history in general- I’ll be starting with A&B classic, Amistad (and we’ll see how far I go from there…).

Somehow at the epicenter of every American political event for the last 50 years, as well as an advocate for gay rights, Gore was a character you could not ignore. And yet the documentary managed to show a quieter, vulnerable side to a man who’s reputation for wit and sarcasm preceded him- perhaps something that a biography wouldn’t have been able to show in such a sensitive light. Politics and all else aside, Gore Vidal just seemed like a man you would want to be around, and indeed his wide net of friends ranged from writers (Tenessee Williams), to Politicians (JFK), to singers (Sting and Bruce Springsteen).

Sad too, that Vidal, who considered himself first and foremost a writer, was met with rejection time and again because of his stance on homosexuality. What many might now consider his post-modern works of fiction were often, at the time, just seen as a perversion of norms. I leave you with a less serious quote from the man himself, on the writing process…

‘First coffee, then a bowel movement. Then the Muse joins me.’

Gore Vidal, from an interview in The Paris Review

By Kathryn, Publishing Assistant

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