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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
I went into the Berlinale Screening this year, without any prior knowledge of what the movie was about (or better of whom it was about). I didn't even know it was a documentary. Both things will be made pretty clear after the first minutes. And although some might feel appalled by the main protagonist here (or his sexuality), no one can say that this guy (woman?) wasn't entertaining.
When Bruce Springsteen dedicates a song to you, "An Englishman in New York", which is a fact that I also didn't know, before watching this film, then there must be something about you. As charismatic as he/she may be and counting the fact, that you won't be offended (although I can say, that I'm glad that there isn't anything too offensive shown in this documentary, which is a nice thing), there are still quite a few flaws.
The pacing is one thing, which also leads to the editing. Quite some scenes, get repeated, a few things/scenes seem redundant and look like their only purpose is to fill time, this character study, could be much better. Especially if you consider the fact, how controversial this "drag queen" once was ... Not a bad documentary, but a missed opportunity then
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