Listening to Armistead Maupin recount prominent moments in his life, it quickly becomes clear that he is a natural storyteller. Achieving fame for his celebrated column Tales of the City in the San Francisco Chronicle, Maupin has been a key documentarian of life in San Francisco and the changing face of America’s political climate for many years. His ability to speak to those of us who have felt like an outsider at some point is perfectly capture in Jennifer M. Kroot’s charming documentary The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.
A celebration of Maupin’s career, and a love letter to San Francisco itself, Kroot’s film paints a vibrant picture of the lasting impact of his written works. Charting his early years, being raised in a family that were descendants of Southern aristocracy, the film captures the ways Maupin repressed his true self in the hopes of pleasing his conservative father. This ability to hide in plain sight would serve Maupin later in life as he began to routinely insert his own sexuality and elements of gay culture in general into his columns.
Whether he is talking about his republican upbringing, recounting the impact of the AIDS epidemic, or musing on his romantic encounters with Rock Hudson, Maupin’s open approach to life is inspiring. His work is so admired by people all over the world, that even the likes of Neil Gaiman, Sir Ian McKellen, Margaret Cho, Amy Tan, Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney, sing his praises on screen.
Serving as a wonderful introduction to both the man and his work that influenced a generation, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin will satisfy Maupin’s dedicated fans and will have new ones running to their nearest book store in search of his various tales about life and culture in the city.
Sunday, May 28, 7:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Tickets can be purchased at the Inside Out website.