Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham New York is one of the 15 films shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination in the feature length documentary category.

The film directed by Richard Press, tries to capture the essence of Bill Cunningham, the New York time fashion photographer known for his street shots.

The film explores Bill Cunningham's vast perspective and appreciation for practical and evolving fashion, with involvement at runway shows (only taking pictures of clothes he finds truly original, with a non-conventional seat to get different shot angles), street shots (capturing trends, never making an "in" and "out" list) and shooting at society events (choosing on his own which philanthropies are most worth of attention, not basing decisions off the guest list).

The film is pretty engaging, simply because Bill Cunningham himself is such unique person, with a unique perspective, and a unique passion. Apart from his passion itself, it is also enjoyable to see a man in his 80s still in love with his job, working hard to do it every day.

Richard Press in his directing seems to set his goal on capturing who Bill Cunningham is, including his own personal life story, and while he asks some very candid questions regarding religion and Cunningham's sexuality, these scenes reveal little while creating some awkward film moments. In the end you know little about Cunningham besides his zeal for fashion photography, but you also end up wondering if that's the sum of Cunningham.

Another side bar to this story in this film is the time period of filming also captures the displacement of Cunningham from the Carnegie Artist Studios.

The film captures the simplicity of a simple man, in a culture of high fashion and being New York to-dos and in watching the film you can see how Cunningham's respect from the community is deserved. He's a unique voice who documents his story riding a bike, with a camera, an eye towards fashion trends, and respect for his subjects.

1 comment:

Lorna said...

Bill Cunningham was my dad's name; I've been aware of this other Bill, but now I'll have to make sure I don't miss the documentary. Have a happy holiday