Each year the Tribeca Film Festival always delivers a number of must see films, and this year is no exception, with new movies from Richard Linklater, Mira Nair, Neil LaBut and Vahid Vakilifar having been recently announced.
In addition to documentaries about Gore Vidal, Moms Mabley (directed by Whoopi Goldberg) and more showing at the festival a new project about Richard Pryor from his widow Jennifer Lee Pryor will make its debut at the highly respected film festival, with Jennifer Lee (who is also a producer of the film) calling it a “definitive documentary.”
Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic is directed by Marina Zenovich (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired), who was given access by The Richard Pryor Estate to photos, and other materials such as the legendary comedian’s personal diary for the project.
A number of Pryor’s friends including Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Mel Brooks and Quincy Jones in addition to his family opened up for the project, which focuses on Pryor’s transformation from mild stand-up funnyman to popular and dangerous social critic.
The turning point happens in Las Vegas, where Pryor no longer feels comfortable in his own skin, for taking the safe route of punch-line comedy while leaving his past buried. “He just really got to see what the world was about,” says Jennifer Lee Pryor. “He was making good money. It was a case of learning from an answered prayer: ‘I got what I wanted. But what is it? Who am I?’” Pryor answered that last question with brutal honesty in his new brand of no holds barred stage humor. It rocketed him to superstardom, before the fire and fall. At that point, as therapy for his suicide attempt, he began writing a journal, which he kept private. The journal was used in the documentary, for the first time ever. “I think it allows insight,” his widow says, without offering specifics, for now. “I think it’s definitely meant to show publicly. There’s private stuff in there. But Richard was a very public person.”
Fear not if you aren’t lucky enough to see the film’s debut at the festival, which runs from April 17-28, as it will be broadcast on American TV network Showtime at a later date as part of their new documentary series titled Closeup, which will look at give detailed looks at the lives of several famous public figures.