Roy Cohn/Jack Smith
When Jill Godmilow’s documentary Roy Cohn/Jack Smith premiered at the 1994 Toronto International Film Festival, the number of AIDS-related deaths was reaching an all-time high in the United States (over 270,000). In New York City, the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic, many artists and filmmakers were grappling with the disease. While Broadway was hosting the second part of Tony Kushner’s award-winning play Angels in America, downtown New Yorkers were fondly recalling another recent production, Ron Vawter’s one-man show Roy Cohn/Jack Smith, in which the actor, who died of AIDS in April 1994, performed two monologues, first as Cohn, the conservative lawyer, and secondly, as Smith, the flamboyant experimental filmmaker—both of whom died of AIDS-related causes in the late 1980s.
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