Film

See the Chicago premiere of Netflix’s Voyeur with Chicago Media Project

The Chicago Media Project (CMP) has announced the Chicago premiere of the new Netflix documentary Voyeur on, Nov. 30, at the Davis Theater in Lincoln Square, part of their Dinner & Docs series. Following legendary journalist Gay Talese on one of the most controversial stories of his career, Voyeur delves into the relationship between Talese and Colorado hotel owner Gerald Foos, who secretly spied on his guests for decades, and chronicles the writing of Talese’s nonfiction book The Voyeur’s Motel.

Image courtesy of Netflix

The film was brought to the screen, in part, through large contributions from the investment arm of CMP; the screening will be proceeded by a family-style dinner at the adjacent Carbon Arc restaurant, and followed by a Q&A discussion with Voyeur directors Myles Kane and Josh Koury, who’ll be in attendance at both.

Voyeur is a sometimes-skeevy, always-fascinating look not only at this professional Peeping Tom, but at the way Foos and Talese form a cautious friendship over decades. Since 1980, the reporter has gathered information in the hopes of determining whether Foos is the real deal, and whether his boxes and file cabinets filled with detailed notes of everything he saw (including a murder) from his “observational platform” in the motel he and his wife owned is legit. The film also looks at the process the New Yorker (where excerpts of his eventual book appeared) went through the verify Foos’ stories and timelines. And still, the diligent fact checkers at the magazine and the publishers of the book missed details that were picked up after the book was available in stores, almost destroying the credibility of the entire account and Talese himself.

The insight gained from watching Voyeur is immeasurable. The ways of cultivating and drawing out sources—relationships spanning decades—are detailed by the filmmakers and Talese, and the way that even Kane and Koury run afoul of both of their subjects is equal parts funny and tense. There’s also a necessary dive into Talese’s history writing about sex (in particular, his 1981 book Thy Neighbor’s Wife) to provide some context for his intrigue on this angle on the subject. 

Tickets to Dinner & Docs are complimentary for all CMP members. (Information on membership can be found here.) Non-members can register for the screening and purchase $35 tickets for the dinner and screening here. (If you can’t make this screening, the film debuts on Netflix on Friday, Dec. 1.)

In addition, CMP also recently announced the 2018 dates for the third annual DOC10 Film Festival, taking place April 5-8, 2018 at the Davis Theater. Next year’s festival will not only include 10 of the best documentaries of the current season, but also the addition of a “Media, Technology and Impact Mashup” event on opening night, April 5. More information on that to come.

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