Chronicles a man who is obsessively interested in only one thing,the pictures he takes that document the way people dress. The 80-year-old New York Times photographer has two columns in the paper's Style section, yet nobody knows who he is.Written by
Once upon a time this reviewer was a photographer who rode a bicycle for work. I carried a camera always. Film, until digital became cheaper. Here we have a man in love with his city and his camera. Director Press (what an apt name!), who also photographs and cuts, sets out to draw a man. In doing so he puts a tiny figure into a broad panorama of what some would say is the cultural capital of the world. Could a Bill Cunningham exist anywhere else? OK, we spend a little time in Paris, but the flavor is New York. This reviewer knows New York, has been influenced by Paris with but fleeting visits. This film alludes to the work of Jean Luc Godard, a director of imagination. Amongst photographers, Paris and New York evoke images that stimulate and provoke.
In my reviews I've been critical of hand-held camera work. Otherwise fine films, I believe, have suffered because the cinematographers have forgotten that viewers expect to see steady images. This film uses hand-held wisely, intercutting it with fixed scenes. There is a rhythm of busy, noisy shots interspersed with quiet, even contemplative material. This is an absorbing, thoughtful motion picture, telling a story of a "stills" master.
As I walked out of the cinema, people chatted animatedly with strangers about what they had seen, a reaction I had not before seen. My own reaction was envy and admiration. Here was an octogenarian riding a bike, when I had had to give it up; a photographer productive and imaginative. Lovely and exciting.
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