Whether you agree with his politics or not, Gore Vidal has retained his vitality as a charismatic and witty historian. Although he moved to Italy some 30 years ago, Vidal remains an outspoken critic of American politics, perhaps able to see things more clearly from afar. Born into a privileged class with political expectations, Vidal chose to confront the status quo and has spent much of his life writing another version of history. He chose novels as his medium, finding them the preferred route to telling the truth.
In Deborah Dickson's masterful film, we witness the potent Vidal in a multitude of settings. We gain access to his villa in Italy, are treated to some of our finest actors reading excerpts from his writings, and accompany Vidal on a trip to the United States. The film incorporates lively clips, such as Vidal sparring with William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer and a Broadway revival of his still-relevant play, <i>The Best Man</i>, but the penultimate payoff is watching Vidal speak of his life and work. This highly engaging film provides a rare opportunity to view a true literary icon in all his glory.
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