Larry Flynt for President

Larry Flynt for President
Running time:90 minutes
Director:Nadia Szold
Release:Cinema
Release date:Not communicated
Rating:
Made from never-before-seen footage shot in 1983, this film documents controversial Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt's unlikely bid for the White House after a gunman's bullet left him partially paralyzed.

Mulder's Review

"Every ounce of energy I can muster will be devoted to moving the enormous repressive hand of government from the crotch of the American people."

Tribeca will have surprised us well this year with a multitude of documentaries including one by Nadia Szold that brings a fresh look at one of the American personalities who left a real empire behind. Larry Claxton Flynt was without context one of the most decried personalities in the United States as he based his career on the world of pornography (magazines, films, television channels...). Many times put on trial in the United States, he inspired Milos Forman to make an excellent film, Larry Flynt (The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)). 

However, as this documentary shows so well, Larry Flynt was an excellent businessman. From a very poor background and without any real higher education, he managed to build a real multi-million dollar empire in the 70's and 80's offering to a public what it asked for even if it was against the morals.  Larry Flynt ran up against the moral majority and got involved in legal battles that he waged against a system he considered hypocritical and corrupt. 

Yet far from being a documentary on Larry Flynt's career, Nadia Szold's film focuses on Larry Flynt's presidential campaign to reach the White House. In France, this was almost like seeing comedian Michel Colucci (aka Coluche) run for president in 1981. While Coluche wisely decided to withdraw from the elections, Larry Flynt went all the way with his campaign. The result is a fascinating documentary about having a lot of money and doing whatever you want with it, like running for President of the United States without having studied and without a realistic program. We can recognize here the will of Larry Flynt to go against the American system and to defend in his way the freedom of expression. How not to see in his campaign, an act of satire and rebellion against Reagan's America.  This documentary deals with the same period as Milos Forman's film but using archival footage.

However, with such a subject, the film would have benefited from being longer and going to the end of its analysis and trying to better understand the spirit of Larry Flynt who saw in his presidential campaign, one more way to make people talk about him and to warm up the political parties in place. Certainly this documentary shows once again how much Larry Flynt liked to be provocative and to play with the First Amendment and thus to make fun of certain public people without any reflection even if it means offending the morals of the time. Larry Flynt for President is nevertheless a fascinating and successful documentary, even if some of the images could offend, that we can only encourage you to discover.

Larry Flynt for President
Directed by Nadia Szold
Produced by Ben Browning, Lauren Mekhael, Steven Prince, Ivan Orlic 
Written by Nadia Szold, Tchavdar Georgiev
Starring Larry Flynt, Althea Flynt, Russell Means, Frank Zappa, Timothy Leary, Jerry Falwell
Cinematography : Larissa Supplitt, Christopher Gallo
Edited by Tchavdar Georgiev, Navzad Dabu, Ben Daughtery, Mark Zemel 
Release date : June 12, 2021 (Tribeca)
Running time : 90 minutes

Seen on June 19, 2021 (Tribeca Festival Online press access)

Mulder's Mark: