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The New Mexican's Weekly Magazine of Arts, Entertainment & Culture Monday, July 28, 2014

Movie Reviews — Pugnacious polymath: "Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia"

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Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014 5:00 am

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, Center for Contemporary Arts, documentary, not rated, 3.5 chiles

There’s a bit of hagiography at work in Nicholas Wrathall’s documentary Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, but its subject stands up to the treatment. Born to privilege, Vidal — one of the towering literary figures and social critics of the 20th century — comes across as sometimes bitter, often contemptuous, brilliantly witty, generally cynical about America’s power structure, yet with a burning, unquenchable idealism when it comes to social justice. In one memorable clip, he laments that in America the top 5 percent control 20 percent of the nation’s riches, while the bottom 20 percent command only 5 percent. With our current awareness of the economic gourmandise of the top 1 percent, Vidal’s outrage is a reminder that everything is relative and that we are headed into territories unimaginable even a generation or two ago.

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