Thursday, March 10, 2016

Vito: Calling Out Hollywood's Portrayals of Gays and Lesbians

This week I watched HBO's documentary film "Vito", which tells the story of Vito Russo, a gay man from NYC who found his voices as an gay advocate in the aftermath of Stonewall. He was an active critic of LGBT portrayals in the media. In the 80s he published his book called "The Celluloid Closet", the first major book to critique these portrayals in Hollywood. When the AIDS epidemic shook the gay community, Vito formed ACT UP, an advocacy group for justice, before his death from the disease in the 90s.

The film is a classic-style documentary: a blend of historical images, clips, and interviews by those who new the subject best, but what makes it so captivating is it's relevance almost 50 years later. I was left wondering at the end of the film what Vito would think of the amount of progress we have made for LGBT individuals since, but also the amount of work we still have left to do--particularly when it comes to visibility and representation in the media.

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