Showing this week at BUFS – Best of Enemies; written and directed by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville; additional voices provided by Kelsey Grammer and John Lithgow.

An ingenious mix of archival footage and present-day interviews shape this riveting documentary film, which discusses the ten debates held between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. and which were aired by ABC News to complement its coverage of the Republican National Convention in Miami and the Democratic National Convention in Chicago during the summer of 1968. Although Buckley and Vidal both passed away before the five years it took to complete this film, their views regarding one another are compellingly read for the audience by Kelsey Grammer (reading as Buckley) and John Lithgow (emulating Vidal) thereby giving the audience insight into the sincere animosity which existed between these two literary figures.

best of enemies BUFS

These entertaining examples of idealistic individuality and its subsequent views on topics such as race, sex, and war will keep audiences intrigued as they are transported back to a time when society had long since questioned its sociological beliefs on such issues. This brilliant gimmick carried out by ABC News in order to boost its ratings would also set the standard for the future of televised journalism; the practice of arranging “debates” between opposing views as a means of encouraging raised voices screaming vitriol. All in all, this is history of debate at its most entertaining.

Screening of Best of Enemies will be held at Landmark Theatres, Pen Centre on October 28 at 7:00 P.M. For more information, please visit brocku.ca/bufs.

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