Tom Wolfe documentary screens at O Cinema

Over the course of several months in Miami, filmmaker Oscar Corral became something like a fixer for famed journalist-turned-novelist Tom Wolfe.

The author had called Corral one day in 2008 because he wanted to set his new novel about Miami, "Back to Blood," in the most-hedonistic trenches of the city, and needed a tour guide and translator to help take in the local flavors. The former Miami Herald reporter had a better idea: Film Wolfe documentary-style as the 81-year-old writer of "The Bonfire of the Vanities" explored Miami's best locales and interviewing its wackiest people.

"I had a front-row seat," Corral says. "The most-thrilling part for me was how he translated his observations in the real world into literature."

Corral's 60-minute doc, "Tom Wolfe Gets Back to Blood," will screen Tuesday at O Cinema, coinciding with the Oct. 23 release of Wolfe's long-awaited novel. Corral points a camera as Wolfe, clad in his signature spotless vanilla suit and fedora, visits the Rickenbacker Causeway, Little Havana's Santeria shops, Art Basel and empty Hialeah homes. He even climbs aboard a mega-yacht during the Columbus Day regatta to bend the ears of bikini-clad revelers and soak in the drunken public exhibitionism.


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"He really surprised me with his youthful vigor. He told me off-camera that he wasn't happy unless his preconceptions were exploded," Corral says. "That was his point of coming down here."

The movie will screen 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at O Cinema, 90 N.W. 29th St., in Miami. Tickets: $35-$55, includes dinner and post-screening Q&A with Corral. 305-571-9970 or O-Cinema.org.