At age 73, writer and melancholy master of the bon mot, Quentin Crisp (1908-1999), became an Englishman in New York. Rossiter's camera follows Crisp about the streets of Manhattan, where ...
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At age 73, writer and melancholy master of the bon mot, Quentin Crisp (1908-1999), became an Englishman in New York. Rossiter's camera follows Crisp about the streets of Manhattan, where Crisp seems very much at home, wearing eye shadow, appearing on a makeshift stage, making and repeating wry observations, talking to John Hurt (who played Crisp in the autobiographical TV movie, "The Naked Civil Servant"), and dining with friends. Others who know Crisp comment on him, on his life as an openly gay man with an effeminate manner, and on his place in the history of gays' social struggle. The portrait that emerges is of one wit and of suffering. Written by
In a rude, harsh world, it is hard to overrate the value of someone as witty, generous, kind and genteel as the beloved, late Quentin Crisp. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for this movie. If you were lucky enough to spend time with him or see his one-man show, which he started around age 70 and was filmed in 1979, you will already have gained more than "Resident Alien" has to offer. The movie opens with thrilling, teasingly macabre music and visuals, but from then on, it falls somewhat flat. Too much of it focuses on his commentators - and the director repeats some shots as if he thought repetition would work for him just because it worked for Mr. Crisp. Fran Lebowitz is never to be missed, but for newcomers to Crisperanto, there is not quite enough of the man himself and his speeches to make them fall in love as I did long before the movie. >
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