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Koch Documentary Preserves Mayor's Candid Persona

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It's somewhat ironic that a new movie about Ed Koch's life opened on the same day the former mayor left the scene. NY1's Vivian Lee spoke with some moviegoers about the documentary - and man himself - and filed the following report.

Martin Grossman says when he heard Ed Koch died Friday, he was even more determined to see the new documentary about the former mayor.

"I anticipated the film for a while and I thought something might happen to him because he was in and out of hospitals," Grossman said.

Allan Fintz said it was his way of paying his respects.

"Overall his legacy was a positive one. He raised the morale of the city," Fritz said.

Fewer than a dozen people saw the film at the Angelika Theater in Manhattan Friday morning. Some of them were drawn there specifically because Koch had died hours before.

"If anything, it showed him as a complete person, he wasn't compartmentalized, or this way in the public eye or this guy with his friends," said "Koch" Director Neil Barsky.

Barsky noted that Koch himself felt his mortality while working on the film.

"He was concerned frankly that he would pass away before he got to see it, and I think he was concerned that we were going to be very rough on him and that would be his legacy," Barsky said. "When he saw the film in July, he said I will take the reel with me to my grave. I think he was relieved more than anything else."

Rita Schwartz worked for various city agencies during the Koch years and attended Koch's birthday celebration in December. On her way to a matinee screening of the film, she described how Koch talked about it at the party.

"Oh, he loved it," Schwartz said. "Of course he loved it."

And those who saw the film said they appreciated one thing that stood out: Koch is portrayed in the film, proverbial warts and all. He even acknowledged mistakes he's made - something observers say he resisted doing at the height of his power.

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