More than a sidekick: Oscar Zeta Acosta gets his due in new film
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"The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo" airs March 23.

A genre-defying film about the life of radical Chicano lawyer, author and countercultural icon Oscar Zeta Acosta will premiere in March.

The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo will debut at 8 p.m. March 23 in a Voces special on PBS.

Acosta was the basis for the character Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, written by his friend, legendary journalist-provocateur Hunter S. Thompson.

Filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez brings Acosta to life by employing a cinematic style as unorthodox as his subject: weaving archival footage and images with dramatized portrayals of Acosta, Thompson, and other key figures and moments of the era.

The script is culled from Acosta and Thompson’s writings and interviews, as well as letters and journalistic and personal accounts.

Acosta’s powerful literary voice, brash courtroom style and notorious revolutionary antics made him a revered figure within the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 70s, and offered one of the most brazen assaults on the status quo and white supremacy seen at the time. Yet Acosta, author of two groundbreaking autobiographical novels, is known more for his turn as Thompson’s bumbling sidekick than for his own work exposing racial bias, hypocrisy and repression within the California justice system.