Bill Cunningham New York
- Director:Richard Press
- Cast:Tom Wolfe , Bill Cunningham , Anna Wintour
- Release Date:November 03, 2011
- Running time:84 minutes
- Film Worth:$17.00
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Simple yet rich doco chronicling a cheerful and charming man who has left an indelible mark on the world of fashion.
Photographer Bill Cunningham is the kind of man who will brighten up your day or, in the case of Bill Cunningham New York, brighten up the screen. A Big Apple icon of journalism and fashion, the now 82-year old has been chronicling the streets of Manhattan for almost the past fifty years with little more than a bicycle, a camera, and a limitless zest for finding individuals with an unusual sense of style.
It took former New York Times' staffer Philip Gefter and director Richard Press almost a decade to convince the intensely private Cunningham to allow his story to be told, and the resulting documentary is as spartan and simple as its subject. That's not a criticism; Bill Cunningham New York, as it crosses from New York to Paris, from high class social events to the everyday street corner, creates an invigorating tapestry of one of the world's great cities, and of the cheerful and happy man tightly woven into its fabric. There are hints of something darker - a Catholic upbringing, conscription into the army, a repressed sexuality - but Cunningham's inexhaustible enthusiasm ensures that the tone remains bright and humorous.
Though his huge body of work (until recently archived in his impossibly small apartment) is revered among fashionistas and historians, only a fraction of his pictures end up in his weekly "On The Street" column in The New York Times. These candid snaps of socialites, celebrities and regular New Yorkers represent an almost anthropological study. Traditional artistic photography is of little interest; for Cunningham, it's all about the clothes. Charming and fiercely individualistic, he retains his autonomy by doing everything for free. "If you don't take money, they can't tell you what to do!" he chirps. Everyone seems to love Bill Cunningham. After seeing this film, you will too.