BEST OF ENEMIES

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(Robert Gor­don, Mor­gan Neville, U. S.). 87 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN This ac­count of the 10 in­cen­di­ary de­bates be­tween Wil­liam F. Buck­ley and Gore Vi­dal dur­ing the 1968 Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic con­ven­tions re­calls a time long gone.

For one thing, fully 80 per cent of Amer­i­cans were watch­ing those con­ven­tions. No one gets an au­di­ence that size th­ese days. For an­other, there was such a thing as a public in­tel­lec­tual, and lefty Vi­dal and right-winger Buck­ley, who loathed each other, were among the most fas­ci­nat­ing.

But they were more alike than you’d think. Both came from the estab­lish­ment, and both un­der­stood pro­foundly the power of TV at the time.

The qual­ity of the de­bates them­selves is not all that high, but the spec­ta­cle and the venom are glo­ri­ous, es­pe­cially while the cops are ri­ot­ing in the streets of Chicago. Apr 24, 7 pm, TIFF 1; Apr 26, 3:15 pm, Is­abel Bader

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