Russo's Story Retold
"Every revolution needs a voice." That's the tagline for the latest entry in the HBO Documentary Film series. It's called Vito and based on the life of Vito Russo, an activist who fought for the rights of gay men and women during the '70s and '80s.
Once again, HBO Documentary Films brings us a movie that sheds light on a game changer. Vito chronicles the 20-year fight of one of the founding fathers of the gay liberation movement, Vito Russo.
The documentary is directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, and executive produced by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men: First Class). The film uses archival footage and interviews featuring Russo himself, as well as commentary from gay rights activists like Larry Kramer and Arthur Evans.
According to journalist David Ehrenstein, “If you’re going to talk about the gay rights movement, you’re going to talk about Vito.”
Russo was present during the early years of some of the most prominent gay rights organizations, most notably GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), which he co-founded and the GAA (Gay Activists Alliance).
Russo used both literature and art to educate and spread his message. In 1981, he wrote The Celluloid Closet, which centered on the portrayal of homosexuality and gender roles in film. Over a decade later, the book spawned a documentary of the same name, which was directed by Rob Epstein.
But there's more to the story, and more to Russo. The film Vito will serve as a window to a man who dedicated his life to helping others.
Vito debuts July 23 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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Photo credit: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN