Bill Cunningham New York | Chicago Reader

Bill Cunningham New York

Rated NR 84 minutes 2011

"The best fashion show is on the street," photographer Bill Cunningham remarks in this lively documentary profile. That may be so, but director Richard Press elevates his movie above most fashion docs by closing in, slowly and stealthily, on a more complicated topic: the space between the public and private selves. Press trails the chipper, octogenarian Cunningham as he cycles around Manhattan snapping shots of well-dressed pedestrians for his weekly "On the Street" spread in the Sunday New York Times. His other Times column, "Evening Hours," takes him to swank charity events where all the glitterati know him but no one knows him well. Through all this, Cunningham gently controls the narrative, yet near the end Press poses a couple of personal questions that pierce the old man's defenses in the most painful and revealing way, suggesting a much more complicated emotional wellspring for the work that consumes his life.

Film Credits

Official Site: zeitgeistfilms.com/billcunninghamnewyork

Director: Richard Press

Producer: Philip Gefter

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Bill Cunningham New York

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