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Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia
Gore Vidal: Stany zjednoczone amnezji (2013)
This is an unashamedly opinionated film. In Gore Vidal's America, the political coup has already happened. The right have triumphed and the human values of the liberals have been consigned to history. But how did this happen and who organized it? In this film Gore Vidal's acerbic, opinionated and informed approach rips away at the facade of the new America. The film dramatizes Gore's political views and his concern at the present state of American democracy using interviews and historical footage of his famous appearances on television and talk shows over the last fifty years. In the recently filmed interviews Gore examines the course of American history and policy making and draws dramatic conclusions on the fate of the nation in the modern age.
Credited cast:
Gore Vidal Gore Vidal - Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Howard Auster Howard Auster - Himself (archive footage)
James Best James Best - (archive footage)
Karen Black Karen Black - Herself (archive footage)
Jerry Brown Jerry Brown - Himself (archive footage)
William F. Buckley William F. Buckley - Himself (archive footage)
George Bush George Bush - Himself (archive footage)
George W. Bush George W. Bush - Himself (archive footage)
Johnny Carson Johnny Carson - Himself (archive footage)
Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter - Himself (archive footage)
Dick Cavett Dick Cavett - Himself (archive footage)
Jodie Evans Jodie Evans - Herself
Farrah Fawcett Farrah Fawcett - (archive footage)
Henry Fonda Henry Fonda - (archive footage)
David Frost David Frost - Himself (archive footage)

Gore Vidal: Stany zjednoczone amnezji (2013)
Just watched over the weekend the film "Gore Vidal: USA of Amnesia" and I must say that I was highly impressed. The film was informative and educational and thought provoking. Though Gore Vidal was mostly before my generation I knew and heard all about his writings and works even the great essays of our time his views on life, culture, politics and the state of democracy pushed the limits. One thing I can say about Gore was he was no yes man! Vidal always would challenge and question the powerful and the establishment, he would always challenge those running the show. I was lucky enough to have saw some interviews with him in his later years before his passing and it was a treat to hear him speak his words were a world of knowledge and advice. This film tells the history of Gore's life as he grew up went to college, served in service and was educated and became an author writing great stories and essay type works on our moral state of society and culture. This was displayed in interviews and clips and it was a treat to see his debates with the right wing author William Buckley Jr. as Gore always spoke for the left more. Still he was often fighting the left as evidenced when he ran and opposed democrat Jerry Brown in 1982 for California's U.S. Senate seat. And plus during the film Gore states in interviews about the blunders of Clinton, and Barrack as he tells the truth politics is a money game it's bought and paid for thru the banks! And I like the way that Vidal stated that sex was good the feel good pleasure was a must he said it right love affairs and marriages are overrated. He was even outspoken for gay rights and he hated religion, and he was so right when he said companionship and friendship is important and critical as evidenced by him living many years with a male friend! True this film is opinionated, and you may not like or agree with Gore Vidal, but one thing is for sure he was a firestorm of truth, honesty, and down right blunt and brash for the way he saw American life as more should be like him and challenge the political and rich and powerful with more thought provoking ideas and different approaches to society and culture. As Gore was a truth seeker for all he really challenged people and democracy to wake up and live with more freedom and rights. It's clear Gore Vidal was a legend and clearly no yes man!
I've not read Gore Vidal and have only seen two farcical movies based on his writing (Visit to a Small Planet and Myra Breckinridge) so I was not at all prepared for seeing an hour and a half of someone who is probably one of the most informed, most thoughtful political thinkers of our time. Prepare to get a fast education in the last 65 years of cold-war and post-cold-war politics. Every word rang true to me. Anyone who can trash William F. Buckley, Jr. live, on TV, on the fly and reduce him to a street fighter stance is AOK in my book.

This documentary combines historical footage of Vidal appearing on television in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s with new footage shot over the last ten years or so of Vidal's life. (He passed on in 2012.) All that's left now is for me to get his historical novels so I can see earlier American history through his eyes.

Seen 8-18-13 at the San Jose Camera Cinema Club. The movie is currently making the rounds at international film festivals and there's a distribution deal in the making.
I was introduced to Gore Vidal by my tenth grade high school history teacher. Mr. D'onofrio set aside one class period for his students to watch a one-hour interview he had taped from a late night TV interview. This was 1980, long before home video recording was the norm and you could still occasionally catch an author, historian, or philosopher on late night television. Most of my fellow classmates were bored stiff, but I was fascinated by the things Mr. Vidal was saying – things I hadn't heard anyone else say about the state of government and how things really worked in Washington.

I searched for material on and by Mr. Vidal, which led me to his play/film The Best Man, which took a decidedly different look at a Presidential Nominating Convention than anything Walter Cronkite ever showed us, and Myra Breckinridge, the most notorious film of its time. (I was too young to see it, and Vidal disowned it anyway.) I sought him out on TV, where had had become somewhat ubiquitous, and always found his interviews thought provoking.

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, a new documentary by Nicholas Wrathall, was a trip down memory lane for me. A decidedly one-sided look at Vidal's life and influence, the film – via archival footage and interviews with Vidal shortly before his death in 2012 – gives a pretty complete picture of who he was, what he thought, and the battles he undertook almost to his last breath. A bastion of the liberal left, Vidal never towed the party line. As harsh a critic of Kennedy as he was of Nixon, Vidal saw the election of Barack Obama as the final indication that the Republican Party would soon go the way of the Whig Party. Would he were around today to see the resurgence of the Tea Party.

Author, politician, atheist, playwright, political commentator, humanist, screenwriter, film actor – all roles with which Vidal undertook with gusto, verve, and the conviction of his ideas. The strengths of those convictions led to two notable feuds that are covered substantially in this film. Authors William F. Buckley and Norman Mailer both had memorable encounters with Vidal and thankfully both are preserved on videotape. Vidal's two runs for public office, once for a New York House seat, and once for the U.S. Senate versus Jerry Brown, gives us a glimpse at a man who was willing to put his money where his mouth was, even though he spent substantially less money than Brown did in the Senate race.

The film also gives us a more substantial look at Vidal's private life, particularly in the long relationship he had with Howard Austen (a man he lived with for over 50 years with whom he claims he never had a sexual relationship) and with the friendships he had with the likes of Tennessee Williams, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.

More autobiography than biography, Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia is 90 minutes of pure, unabashed Vidal, interspersed with some of his most caustic comments, ie "Our form of democracy is bribery, on the highest scale." or "Envy is the central fact of American life." The film happily reminds us of a time when intellectuals could be entertaining and thought provoking, and unhappily of what passes for intellectual debate today.

Vidal was born into privilege but this didn't stop him from having a disastrous relationship with his mother, Nina. He seemed to have a better one with his father but his parents divorced when he was young and his mother burned through several marriages. He attended a New England boys, Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire and had an affair with another boy, who died at Iwo Jima.

Vidal in the movie commented on the futility of war and the horrible waste of lives it incurs. He served in the Navy in the Pacific Theater for several years and claimed he never heard one serviceman utter a patriotic comment. To Vidal patriotism was just a cover-up for justifying war.

Even as a youth Vidal knew he wanted to write and after he graduated from Exeter he skipped college and set off on a writing career. His third book, The City and the Pillar, became very controversial because of its explicit use of homosexual situations. It is worthy to note that Vidal did not like the terms homosexual/heterosexual and claimed that a person being either one was likened to having blue eyes or brown. This is pretty much the medical position taken today.

However, in the 1950s and 1960s (before the Cultural Revolution of the late '60s) writing openly about sex of any type was a taboo. Vidal found his works banned by the New York Times and he had to go to Hollywood to write screenplays to make money. He did quite well monetarily there and with the money he made bought a grand estate in New York. Nevertheless, his frank and overt language in The City and the Pillar caused many critics to smear his name for years.

Vidal was a great writer and his historical novels were first-rate. I read both Julian and Lincoln, and both capture the era perfectly that Vidal is describing. The first the mid-4th century Roman Empire and the second when Abraham Lincoln takes the helm of guiding the Union to ultimate victory in the Civil War (1861-1865). He was also a great debater and the movie captured some of his infamous run-ins with that great bastion of American conservatism, William F. Buckley. The movie also took up the relationship between Vidal and Christopher Hitchens, who before the latter endorsed the Second Iraq War (2003-2011), appeared to be the anointed heir-apparent of Vidal's legacy. Regarding the Second Iraq War Vidal clearly called it right.

The movie covers Vidal's life from 1925 to 2012. His prime time was the 1950s to the 1980s. It could have been more incisive of Vidal's life but still I had to marvel how prescient he was. He saw clearly the drift that overtook the United States in the second half of the 20th-century and the now current political impasse at which we have now arrived.

Gore Vidal, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 86, in my opinion, possessed one of the greatest minds ever. Clearly physical aging as this documentary was being filmed, but losing none of his incredible wit, sarcastic humor, and brutal honesty, Vidal gives his version of his most remarkable life.

The movie, directed by Nicholas Wrathall, appears to be meticulously researched and is extremely well presented, utilizing vintage film clips and interviews, as it recounts the most fascinating journey of Vidal's life and career.

Overall, I don't agree with everything Vidal espouses but his anti-establishment writings and spoken words are so vital, as I see it, for any society to have. In my opinion, his genius will live on in perpetuity, and hopefully serve as lessons for the future generations to come.
I can prove that watching this movie will convince you that this man had the ability to see the future. To watch his predictions coming true is jaw dropping. There is a great scene with Jerry Brown when he ran against him in the primary for Senate in California. One man in an unemployment office told him he had never seen a politician there before. Gore knew based on the political economic structure, he would not win but said Jerry should drop out take a year off and read and explore himself. Jerry, won the primary, lost the election and took a year off to explore his mind. I mean yoga explore. It's uncanny. The most convincing proof is when Christopher Hitchens, his protégé, proclaimed himself the new Gore, Vidal said, " He's not the new me because I am still here and will be here after he's gone." Gore was in his 80s, Hitchens was in his 50s. Hitchens died 2011, Vidal 2012. Of course he was not a God and had some odd views. He didn't believe in monogamy or long term relationships but had the greatest interview about being Gay. He said the difference between a Homosexual and a Heterosexual is the same as having brown eyes and blue eyes. When asked who says so, he said, "I say so." It is truly enlightening to watch. He sees the rich taking over the government, the economic structure, buying Congress to make sure they make all the money and take all the advantages. He was Bernie Sanders, except back then the top 20% had more wealth than the rest combined. Of course now we call them the 1%. I recommend this movie.
Slowly writer
Slowly writer
Pretty much your run of the mill documentary about someone who wasn't. That doesn't mean it's bad, just what you'd expect: taking heads, old footage, interviews, clips of the old man going about his life, etc. Nice overview to make you want to dig deeper.
Gore Vidal was always good value for money. Writer, polemicist, raconteur, wit and intellectual.

Vidal died in 2012, he lived to a good age and this film released a year later is a documentary of his personal and professional life with contributions from those who knew him.

Gore was a patrician who came from a political family but had complex relationships with his parents. In a roundabout way he was related to the Kennedys through Jackie Onassis and experienced the Camelot years.

Yet he was critical of both Democrats and Republicans as they served the same people, the moneyed and liked to paint himself as an outsider. For many years he lived in Italy.

Gore could be charming and also abrasive and was willing to take on all comers. Gore engaged in debated with the right wing author William Buckley Jr, got in a scrape with Norman Mailer and even turned his back to former acolyte Christopher Hitchens when he got too close to the American right and for his support of the Iraq War.

This was an enjoyable documentary, I always find it stimulating to listen to Vidal even if he might be exaggerating his stories or embellishing his own importance but I would had liked to see more focus on his writing as well.
seriously? the title flies in the face of reality without regard. The write-up states that the liberals have lost, and this dramatic movie scrapbook of this mans one-liners and zingers is the repeal to the American people who ignored him and his ideology? Sorry but last time I checked, liberalism was alive and well, feeding off of the middle and the right three times a day. Now, with that being said, there are some ideals that I agree with... but the entire objective of this film seems to want to create an even further rift between the American people. But hey, that's pretty much every movie created these days. The following this guy has seems to pretty much be contained to sophomoric undergrads with a minor in Poli Sci. The same mentality of the Che Guerva supporters.
After watching this decidedly biased bio-documentary about "Mr. Opinion-Overload" (aka. Eugene Louis Gore Vidal) - I'm now convinced that way too many Americans have clearly placed far too much importance on what this obstinate public figure had to say.

I found that for a man who never had a single, successful intimate relationship in his entire lifetime (where he remained virtually celibate) - Vidal sure had an annoying knack for mouthing-off (with such superiority) about the inadequacy of so many others.

IMO - Vidal's final 4 words in this documentary, pretty much, summed up (in a nutshell) what I think about him (and all of his high-falutin ideals and opinions) - And those 4 words were - (*quote*) "I couldn't care less!" - And, believe me - I couldn't care less, either - No. Not even if I tried.