Thursday 24 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Documentary · Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham New York

After documenting street fashion for 30 years, a photographer becomes the subject, in the documentary ‘Bill Cunningham New York.’

Rod Lott April 20th, 2011

Bill Cunningham New York
7:30 p.m. Thursday, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch, 236-3100

Some stories can only be told in the Big Apple, and the documentary on New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham is one of them. Anywhere else, an old man riding his bike up and down city blocks, stopping to take pictures of passing strangers — mostly women — would be badgered by police.

But in the city that never sleeps?

The guy’s nearly as much an icon as Lady Liberty. The proof is in “Bill Cunningham New York,” as amiable as its focus, screening Thursday through Sunday at Oklahoma City Museum of Art. There’s no colon in the title, suggesting the two are forever linked, if not one and the same.

For more than three decades, Cunningham has taken to the streets on his original, red Schwinn, documenting the clothes that catch his eye. Well, you or I think of them as clothes; he calls them “the armor to survive everyday life.”

The spry, 80-something shutterbug wears his camera like others do a tie, and still uses real film to shoot his subjects. As he tells us in the doc’s opening moments, “The best fashion show is always on the street — always has been, always will be.”

The guy’s nearly as much an icon as Lady Liberty.

Debuting director/cinematographer Richard Press does a marvelous job of showing Cunningham tirelessly at work — even when he’s greeted with a threat of “I’ll break that fucking camera!” — and the guy is always at work. He has never owned a television set; has no interest in food; and doesn’t see movies or listen to music. His job is literally his life, as evidenced by the miserly bed amid walls of file cabinets brimming with negatives and prints. As he puts it only half-jokingly, “Who the hell wants a kitchen and a bathroom?” Despite his longevity and profile, none of his colleagues and co-workers really knows anything about his personal life, if one exists at all. He’s such an enigma, audiences may grow skittish, wondering if Press’ profile of Cunningham will delve any deeper than surface level. (After all, both Press and producer Philip Gefter have worked with their star at the Times, so the doc isn’t purely objective.)

Have patience; in the final 10 minutes, the filmmaker finally gets him to sit still long enough actually to converse, and asks the questions that have nagged the viewer all the while. While Cunningham’s answers may not surprise, the moments are charged with palpable emotion.

“Bill Cunningham New York” bears resemblance to “The September Issue,” the 2009 documentary on Vogue editor Anna Wintour (who appears here), but the difference is this work is worth watching. Whereas Wintour has money and power, Cunningham has the personality.

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