This documentary is about John Wojtowicz; who? The guy that Al Pacino played in Dog Day Afternoon (and if you are still asking who? stop reading this and go rent it right now). John is famous for holding up a bank to pay for his lover’s sex change operation – and playing up to the media and the police the whole time.
A labour of love, Allison and Frank spent years making this film about this larger than life, albeit pretty short guy from New York, who has a relentless personality. Funny and moving by turns this portrait takes us through John’s early days in the military, his wives (male and female) and his biggest love, his mother. One of the most interesting aspects of his life was how integral he was to the gay rights movement, shown using unseen footage and photographs. Despite his egomania, John had a loving nature to those he cared about; the scenes with his brother are particularly poignant.
Berg and Keraudren got close to their subject (to the extent he would just turn up uninvited to their homes) but this gave them amazing access to John and the ability to tell his story before he died.
The conflicting accounts of events from other contributors only adds to the enigma of John, like he said “Live everyday as if it’s your last and whoever doesn’t like it can go fuck themselves”. Catch this if you can.