The film chronicles a man who is obsessively interested in only one thing, the pictures he takes that document the way people dress. All over New York City, people – famous and non – would style themselves in the hopes of being captured by this crazy bike riding photographer.
The “Bill” in question is 80+ New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. For decades, this Schwinn-riding cultural anthropologist has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high society charity soirées for the Times Style section in his columns “On the Street” and “Evening Hours”. Documenting uptown fixtures (Anna Wintour, Tom Wolfe, Brooke Astor, David Rockefeller — who all appear in the film out of their love for Bill), downtown eccentrics and everyone in between, Cunningham’s enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair. In turn, Bill Cunningham New York is a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own humanity and unassuming grace.
Bill was truly a unique individual. A combo of Mr Rogers, a masculine Iris and Pauline Kael. Opinionated, old school, street smart, creative with a wonderful eye. One of a kind.
One of the highlights in the film must definitely be the deadpan ex UN ambassador from Nepal – give me those clothes! He sends me, too much.
USA 2010, 84 min, rated PG (coarse language)
Directed by Richard Press