Monday, April 04, 2011

Bill Cunningham's Close-Up, Ready or Not

Caught "Bill Cunningham New York" at Film Forum over the weekend. (Hurry, it ends April 7.) The film is endlessly enjoyable -- both Michael and Scooter LOVED it too, the first time I can remember everyone in my party agreeing so emphatically on something since we saw since "Brokeback Mountain" with Larry at the end of '05 -- whether you're familiar with the legendary street-style and society documentarian's work or not. Bill's such a likable character and the ultimate anti-diva -- the first few years I worked at The Times I actually thought he was some old-timer who wasn't willing to retire that they let stick around as a clerk or something as he was always there and always running around from floor to floor in his trademark blue smock only to find out he was the man behind Evening Hours and On the Street!

While Michael and Scooter saw the film as entirely joyous -- a man in his 80s still doing what he loves -- its Ron Galella ("Smash His Camera") by way of Rodney Bingenheimer ("The Mayor of the Sunset Strip") sensibility left me with a sad feeling about his all-consuming passion for his work, which was clearly fueled by Catholicism and his family's lack of acceptance. Director Ron Press does an admirable job of not weighing in on things -- this film is the uncensored Bill Cunningham from beginning to end, nothing more, nothing less -- so see it and decide for yourself. (Did I mention that it's REALLY good?)
I'm tickled to see it's currently playing outside of New York City, although I suppose it would be just as fun to watch at home. (It's a little movie.) For more information or to see if it's playing near you, visit the official site HERE.

1 comment:

Christopher Carozzo said...

Excellent review, Kenneth. I'd love to see this film.