Saturday, June 7, 2014


Making a movie about Gore Vidal must have been an uphill battle.  Trying to catch this American man of letters/Machiavelli/rogue in a few images, bites and clips was probably doomed to solely entertain rather than educate.

In the current barren cultural landscape it would have been appropriate to elevate this truly unique man rather than to reduce him to a cranky senior.  Vidal was not the best author in American letters, far from it.  He was more an unforgiving chronicler and debunker of the American illusion comique.  There was something personal in his almost frantic pursuit of what he considered to be the vast American lie.  And often, his pursuit of a vendetta obscured more noble, creative motives.

This man was at home in all things cultural and was familiar with all overpasses ironical. The movie could not capture the complexities of a commentator who was generally the first in America to legitimize homosexuality (as it was called then) or to correct the historical narrative from the Founding Fathers on.  He never let his upper-class origins and network stand in the way of causes or persons he believed in.
No camera could ever catch the elegance and the vitriol of a pen which would have fit perfectly on Voltaire's or Oscar Wilde's desk.  

It is unfair to ask for a film montage to adhere to such a sophisticated journey. I wish there would have been less death and foreboding at the end though. Gore Vidal made the continuous reinvention of his life and talents his trademark.  The movie was a "still", unable to keep pace with this "comet".

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