The Legend of Leigh Bowery (2002)
Born to a middle-class family in suburban Australia, Leigh Bowery moved to London, England, in the early '80s with a desire to re-invent himself. Always fascinated with fashion and the expressive possibilities of clothing, Bowery quickly became a noted figure in London's image-obsessed "New Romantic" scene, where (as Marcus Bracewell put it) "getting ready [to go out] became an art form." While Bowery's elaborate creations were striking, Bowery designed clothing as an art form rather than as salable fashion items -- creating costumes for theater pieces, performance art pieces, or his own appearances at clubs, Bowery used clothing to confront, confuse and challenge those around him, rather than to simply adorn the body. Bowery later expanded on his philosophy and approach with his own nightclub, Taboo, and a musical group, Minty. Bowery died of AIDS-related illnesses in 1994, but this documentary -- which features interviews with his friends, family and colleagues, including Boy George, who has since staged a musical based in part on Bowery's life -- examines his life and times, as well as the lasting impact of his work. The Legend of Leigh Bowery received its world premiere in the spring of 2002 at the It's All True Documentary Film Festival on Sao Paulo, Brazil. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Legend of Leigh Bowery
The Legend of Leigh Bowery replaces the man within the queer myth to the extent that when it's over, Bowery seems less a freakish terror than the shrewd art-world transgressive he was.
Without pushing too hard, the film makes a case for Bowery as a significant artistic catalyst blazing a glittery trail at the intersection of fashion, pop music and surrealist performance.
Boy George seems to be the only person genuinely inspired today to pick up Bowery's fashion torch, but if is that something anybody wants?
You may find the film as outrageous as it is outlandish, and Bowery would have taken that as a compliment.
An interesting doc, if only because it serves to introduce the work of a gifted, unique artist to those of us who have found little good to say about the 1980s and the excesses they produced.
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