Robert Opel will be forever known as the guy who streaked naked across the stage of the 1974 Academy Awards, showing the world what a real trophy looks like (though host David Niven chimed in with a witty remark about how Opel was allegedly revealing his shortcomings).
But he was so much more than a penis flasher.
Opel happened to be a San Francisco avant-garde gallery owner and play producer who was at the forefront of performance art and gender politics.
But despite — or maybe because of — the impressive counterculture legacy he was building, he was not invulnerable to psychos.
In 1979, he was murdered by an intruder who demanded drugs and money, and now, his nephew — Robert Oppel — has come out with a documentary aiming to find out exactly what happened.
The film, Uncle Bob (on DVD), is an innovative fantasia filled with vintage clips, interviews, and segments with the young Oppel playing at being his uncle while re-creating his filmmaking, his TV appearances, and even his bloody death.
It’s the just the kind of sprawling, unconventional, subjective doc Opel deserves and would have loved.
By the end of it, you feel his shortcomings, if any, were very few.