And I've never said this about a film festival before, but finally! Honestly, that festival was great, but seemed to take for-freakin-ever!
One last movie, back at the Castro for Alex Gibney's (Oscar winner for "Taxi to the Dark Side") documentary "Gonzo: the Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson". Now I knew of Hunter S. Thompson casually as the gonzo writer of the "Fear and Loathing" books, and had heard some stuff about how he became a gun nut liberal-libertarian who lived out on a ranch and was just bitter all the time. Then he killed himself. I loved "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", both the book and the movie (and Johnny Depp appears in and narrates this movie). But what I'm getting at is I never really had a comprehensive view of the Hunter's work until now. I've never read "Hell's Angels", although I knew he wrote it. I never knew he ran for (and very nearly won) sheriff of Aspen. I knew he wrote about politics, but I always thought he was pretty bitter and cynical about it--I didn't know how much he truly believed in George McGovern. But since it's impossible to sum up the movie, I'll just say it's as well made as you'd expect from Alex Gibney (besides "Taxi to the Dark Side", he also made "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room", which actually made the Enron scandal comprehensible and entertaining). And I'll relate the one anecdote that struck me the most:
In 1974 Hunter S. Thompson was a guest of Senator Ted Kennedy at a dinner at the University of Georgia. The governor of Georgia gave a speech there where he talked about how his family was farmers for generations, but he never understood the conditions of the workers on the farm until he heard the words of the great American poet Bob Dylan and his song "Maggie's Farm". A politician citing Bob Dylan immediately caught Thompson's interest. And he listened to (and tape recorded) the speech, as this governor went on to rail against the ethics of lawyers--to a room full of lawyers. Thompson was mightily impressed, and thought to himself 'This Jimmy Carter, I must make him President'. And so he wrote a glowing review of his speech for Rolling Stones, and the rest is history (and apparently the last politician Hunter S. Thompson respected)
Here's a pic of director Alex Gibney, and I apologize but I don't remember who the woman next to him is:
And now SFIFF '08 is over.