Revelation Film Fest: The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin

The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin (★★★★★) is an absorbing documentary about San Francisco writer Armistead Maupin whose Tales in the City became a cult television series. Tales in the City started out as an entertaining column in the Francisco Chronicle in the mid seventies that recorded the local stories of the city’s residents – both gay and straight – and eventually included a coming-out letter from Maupin to his parents.

Director Jennifer Kroot interviews Maupin who insists that he is not a gay writer, but a writer who happens to be gay, although his writing didn’t flourish until he came out. He says, “To keep a huge secret in your heart and be a good writer is very difficult”. He also says that he became an accidental hero as he was the only person writing about San Francisco’s increasingly gay population, even if it was under the guise of a story.

This “big romantic with a slutty side” rubbed shoulders with many famous people who are interviewed for the documentary, including Sir Ian McKellan, Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Amy Tan and Jonathan Groff. Kroot also interviews his husband Christopher who he met on a website called ‘Daddy Hunt’ and there’s both funny and sad revelations in this fascinating documentary.

Maupin gave hope to all the people who, like him, had to challenge the indoctrination and stigmatisation that shackled their lives. This is essential viewing for people who want to love or be loved without anybody hating them for it.

The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin screens as part of Revelation Film Festival – 4.45pm Tuesday 11 July and 7.10pm Sunday 16 July at Luna Cinema, Leederville and 6.45pm Tuesday 18 July at Luna SX, Fremantle. 

Lezly Herbert

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