Following the success of his television biography 'The Naked Civil Servant' Quentin Crisp is invited to America to lecture on How To Be Happy, and falls in love with New York's more permissive ambiance. Agent Connie Clausen enables him to be a 'resident alien', writing film reviews and dispensing words of wisdom. Curious about but impervious to trends, he describes AIDS as a "fad, nothing more", actually to divert heterosexual anger but he is misinterpreted and reviled by many gays. A return to popularity occurs when he helps Patrick Angus, a young, AIDS-afflicted artist attain fame for his paintings and his healthy cynicism is marketed by performance artist Penny Arcade, putting him back in the limelight. Poor health causes him to refuse a lecture tour of England but he gives a triumphant final audience at a gay club in Tampa. A postscript informs that he died at the age of 91. Written by
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Persistence is your greatest weapon. It is in the nature of barriers that they fall. Do not seek to become like your opponents. You have the burden and the great joy of being outsiders. Every day you live as a kind of triumph. This you should cling onto. You should make no effort to try and join society. Stay right where you are. Give your name and serial number and wait for society to form itself around you. Because it will most certainly will. Neither look forward where there is doubt nor ...
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Saw this film at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC and was deeply impressed. A loving, yet honest, look at Quentin Crisp in his later years in New York. John Hurt just IS Quentin Crisp in this role. It's amazing how accustomed we can be to bad acting as a norm until you see a performance like this and are suddenly reminded of how it's really done. Supporting cast is equally effective (how can they not be when you've got Cynthia Nixon and Swoosie Kurtz) with a massive standout being Denis O'Hare. Beautiful understated effective performance. More than simply biographical, it offers many social subjects for consideration in context - queer-on-queer prejudice, appropriate responses to AIDS in the 1980's, and much much more. It's a really good film, and well worth seeking out for just the acting alone. John Hurt is just perfect.
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