The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
The Gospel According to André
2017, Kate Novack, USA, 94 min.
"Entertaining doc about perhaps the greatest, most gigantic (in every way) fashionista who ever lived." - David Noh, Film Journal International
"The most essential fashion documentary since BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK." - Glenn Dunks, The Film Experience
This all-encompassing portrait of André Leon Talley - formidable potentate in the world of style, right-hand-man to Vogue's Anna Wintour, and longtime protégé of the legendary editor Diana Vreeland - details his struggle as a gay black man scaling the heights in the elite and once all-white sub-culture of international fashion. A flamboyant presence and expansive raconteur, Talley, who was raised by his grandmother in Durham, NC, credits her sense of propriety and the high style of Southern black church-goers in their Sunday best as the influences that profoundly shaped his world view. Earning an advanced degree in French literature at Brown, he got his foot in the door in New York by answering phones at Warhol's Interview magazine and volunteering for Vreeland's Costume Institute at the Met. As his eye for style made him indispensable, Talley used his power to advocate for black models and designers, as testified by the film's interviews with Naomi Campbell, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Tom Ford, Diana Ross, Karl Lagerfeld, Whoopi Goldberg, and more. DCP digital. (BS)
Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat
2017, Sara Driver, USA, 78 min.
"More than does justice to its acknowledged subject…conveying his personal magnetism, eccentricity and non-stop creativity without romanticizing him." - John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter
"Vivid and beautifully meditative memory piece on the downtown New York art and music scene of the late 1970s and early '80s." - Chris Barsanti, The Playlist
Director Driver (WHEN PIGS FLY, YOU ARE NOT I) captures the wild, raw spirit of the young unknown Jean-Michel Basquiat through the memories and tales of friends and occasional lovers, who knew him not as the lionized art luminary on par with Andy Warhol, but as the eccentric homeless teenager struggling alongside them to eke out an existence on the desolate streets of lower Manhattan in the late-1970s. Unlike earlier films on Basquiat (including Julian Schnabel's fictionalized BASQUIAT and Tamra Davis' documentary JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: THE RADIANT CHILD) this haunting portrait spreads its net wide, putting the tagger and enfant-terrible-to-be in the gritty context of an economically ravaged city, where a new avant-garde art and music culture was being born on alley walls, in pop-up galleries, and in venues like the Mudd Club and Club 57. Interviews include former Basquiat roommate and collector extraordinaire Alexis Adler, hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, graffiti artist Lee Quiñones, and filmmakers Driver, James Nare, and Jim Jarmusch. DCP digital. (BS)