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Bill Cunningham New York
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In his role as photographer for the society and street-style pages of the
New York Times
, Bill Cunningham has been the city's leading fashion chronicler for more than 30 years. Richard Press's documentary turns the lens back on the man who, even at the age of 80, hasn't lost his ability to capture the trends being sported along Manhattan's bustling avenues all the way up to the catwalks of Paris. Cunningham comes across as very much a man out of time: shooting on rolls of film and dressed in signature blue smock, while nimbly traversing the city at all hours by pushbike. His spartan lifestyle is also very much at odds with the glitzy world he documents; at the time the movie was made he was living surrounded by filing cabinets of negatives in one of the celebrated bohemian apartments above Carnegie Hall. But his eager grin and old-world charm mask an uncompromising perfectionist who has given his entire life to fashion. Like the
-centric 2009 documentary
The September Issue
, there are plenty of colourful characters eager to pay tribute, including
high priestess Anna Wintour herself, and assorted dandies and eccentrics, not least Shail Upadhya, a former Nepalese diplomat to the UN, whose way-out wardrobe is a humorous highlight. Cunningham comes across a little like one of these interesting oddballs himself, but he's spared any ridicule, and in one scene offers an unexpected, fleeting glimpse of a secret sadness in his life. But, echoing the respect the lensman famously accords his own subjects, Press doesn't pry like an overbearing paparazzo. As such, this isn't the confessional exposé some would hope, but it is a reverent profile of a fascinating, funny and inspirational gentleman.
Profile of the veteran New York Times photographer, who has become an influential figure for his images documenting both Manhattan high society and everyday life, and whose pictures present a comprehensive history of the changing appearance of the city. Featuring contributions from actress Catherine Deneuve, writer Tom Wolfe and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Cast & Crew
English, French +subtitles
16 Mar 2012
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