Gore Vidal – The United States of Amnesia
Nicholas Wrathall’s award winning documentary is a highly compelling portrait of Gore Vidal (1925–2012), the prominent American writer and public intellectual who provided witty, incisive commentary on U.S. political life for over half a century. Vidal authored bestselling novels and Broadway plays, wrote essays for major journals, and also worked as a screenwriter for film and television. Comprised of both archival footage and original interviews with Vidal and his colleagues, the documentary uses the figure’s life and work as a prism through which to track multiple decades of American history, from World War II to Barack Obama’s presidency. Vidal developed a reputation for puncturing America’s self-serving myths and for advancing contrarian, often-contentious views, especially as he observed the U.S. shift from a republic to a warmongering empire, from a democracy to a security state unconcerned with civil liberties. Both the descendant and friend of many eminent politicians, Vidal himself ran for Congressional office on two occasions, but his political ambitions were never realised, likely on account of his homosexuality and his outspoken, all-too-candid opinions on the state of the nation. Subtitled “The United States of Amnesia,” the documentary honours the memory of a figure deeply invested in a country that still has many lessons to learn—a figure who perpetually highlighted the discrepancy between the America's founding ideals and its often dismaying political realities.
Nicholas Wrathall is an award-winning director and producer. He became known for his documentary Abandoned: The Betrayal of America's Immigrants (2001), which won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. In addition to feature-length documentaries, Wrathall films and produces short documentary films on social themes. His latest works include Endless Caravan (2002), Haitian Eksperyans and The Modern Gulag. Wrathall lives and works in Los Angeles.