Mister D:Vito doc will air on HBO Monday night, July 23, 2012, 9-10:45 PM Eastern Time
Toronto Now Film Friday: Vito ByÂ NOW STAFF July 20, 2012
Â VitoÂ (Jeffrey Schwarz) documents the life of Vito Russo, who died from AIDS-related illness in 1990 but left behind an enormous legacy, not only as a pioneering gay and AIDS activist, but also as the author of the seminal book The Celluloid Closet, about the history of gays and lesbians in cinema. Schwarzâ€™s impressive doc touches on all of this, using archival footage to provide a front-line perspective on pre-Stonewall bathhouse raids, homophobic mainstream journalism and how New York Cityâ€™s queer community fractured in the 70s and then banded together when the terrifying and mysterious AIDS epidemic hit urban centres. Besides the articulate and impassioned Russo, the interviews and footage include Larry Kramer, Armistead Maupin, Lily Tomlin (one story about her run-in with Time Magazine is worth the price of admission) and Bette Midler, who once unified an out-of-control queer rally with style and chutzpah. Essential viewing for LGBT and other activists. 93 min.