Friday, March 27, 2009


Another early favorite of mine among the films I've already screened for this year's festival is AN ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK based on the last few years in the life of the flamboyant writer, actor, and gay icon Quentin Crisp who emigrated from the UK to the Bowery in New York City in 1981 when he was already in his 70s. The Manhattan scene just quickly embraced the quick-witted Crisp! But his outspoken dismissal of the early AIDS epidemic as just another fad threatened his new-found celebrity.

While the film's not-so-polished production leaves something to be desired, ENGLISHMAN is a more-than-satisfying bio pic that is expectedly smart and funny, complete with Crisp's famous one-liners and zinging remarks. John Hurt, winning a Special Jury Prize from Berlinale's Teddy Awards, is simply fabulous as the aging Crisp. You might recall Hurt playing Crisp earlier in the 1975 ground-breaking British television drama THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this film will be available to us in October.

After screening at the Berlin International Film Festival, ENGLISHMAN comes home to New York in April at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Trivia: The Sting song of the same title is indeed about Quentin Crisp, who "looked forward to receiving his naturalization papers so that he could commit a crime and not be deported."

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