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This documentary gave me great joy and frankly some hope. If the streets of New York could nurture a man like this, maybe humaniyty can still find its way.
***+ "The best fashion show is definitely on the street.Always has been and always will be." @Bill Cunningham
I happened on this film on Netflix last hear, started watching and couldn't stop. An interesting and well-told story about and an interesting reporter for the NYT. RIP Bill Cunningham.
Few 2011 films-or documentaries in general-are quite as charming as Bill Cunningham New York. Most non-fiction films tackle complicated, hard-hitting issues or complex characters with unforgettable stories. This film, however, is about a man, his bike, and his camera. Yet, there's something joyful about the film's simplicity, and its titular character's smile is just infectious. Overall, Bill Cunningham New York might not be groundbreaking, but I challenge you to find a more pleasant, enjoyable documentary.
Everyone always dreams of finding something they love doing so much that they'd do it for free. Meet Bill Cunningham-a New York City photographer who's worked for such publications as the New York Times and Details magazine. Call this octogenarian a fashion photographer if you must, but he'll immediately correct you. He's a photographer of people and the clothes they wear. He lives in a tiny artist's studio in Carnegie Hall, surrounded by decades worth of photographs and files. And while he's on the verge of eviction (his apartment will be replaced by offices), he's still deliriously happy. Why? He's doing what he loves, what he's meant to do.
We don't really learn any intimate details about Cunningham over the course of the film. He slyly laughs off questions about his love life, and he tears up a little when pressed about his religious beliefs. Oddly enough, however, this impenetrability works for the film. I'm not sure digging deeper into Cunningham's psyche would reveal any great truths. He's just a guy who's happy living and working. And the superficiality of the film strangely works in its favor.
There's little else to say about the film, frankly, other than that I liked it very much. Here's a documentary that greatly contrasts your typical fare. Yes, its story is subdued, almost mundane. But it grabs hold of you with an obvious affection for its lead character and an incredibly amount of charm.
As a massive fan of Iris and Advanced style this was just as good. Ex milliner come photographer Bill Cunnigham. He is an absolute delight as he cycles through NYC photographing the fashionistas. His personal life is very interesting as his his home in Carnegie hall - Wonderful
Full of sensibility. Mr. Bill Cunningham represents New York incredibly well; he's not about fashion only, he represents the city's 'civilisation'.
I entered this documentary expecting it be about photography, instead it was about fashion. No matter, it was delightful, as is the subject that it seeks to document. Bill Cunningham is an impassioned and irresistibly charming man who photographs the beauty he sees around him on the streets of New York. Working in the industry for 60 years, Bill is as well-connected as many of the uptown socialites he photographs and yet he constantly seeks to remain out of the limelight. Himself plain-clothed and living in a glorified cupboard in Carnegie Hall, his raison d'etre is his insatiable appetite for creativity. There is a sadness to Bill's life though: he reveals that he has never been in a romantic relationship; that he has no time for hobbies outside of his work. What has this man's singular devotion cost him in his life?
Cutie and the Boxer (2013) is a documentary about a similarly elderly artist working in New York, once a rising star in the 70's art scene. Where Ushio Shinohara (the titular 'Boxer') is an artist who is somewhat stuck in a period and lacking relevancy, Bill Cunningham is entirely at the top of his game and still keeps the major fashion houses in check when they try to repeat old designs.
Enough gushing about Bill Cunningham. As a documentary it succeeds in giving us a snapshot (pun intended) of the subject's life without being too invasive or forcing an agenda. The film doesn't have a strong narrative, but when your subject is as fascinating as Bill Cunningham (okay, one final gush), who can blame the filmmakers for being distracted from their filmcraft.
Bill Cunningham is over 80 years old, who has two columns on New York Times, shoots street fashion photos on the street, attend evening parties and visit the Fashion Week in Paris, has an attractive smile like an boy. Sociability taken over from his father as well as sensitivity from his mother might have made him being supported by fashion lovers as famous Chief Editor of Vogue Anna Wintour says 'We all get dressed for Bill!'
His life style is simple and stoic. All he has in his apartment is cabinets for negative film storage and a simple bed. He says 'Who the hell wants a kitchen and a bathroom? Just more rooms to clean.' He visits a church on weekends but he never had time to love someone. His life is stoic like a mountain hermit but he looks happy as he likes fashion.
Love this movie! It is encouraging to see someone love their job!
An absolutely wonderful documentary about an awesome ageing NYC photographer.