Matt Tyrnauer’s fascinating portrait on the rise and fall of this definitive discotheque is one of the most compelling of recent documentaries.
Studio 54 created by two Brooklyn friends Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell became synonymous with glamour and sex overnight during the seventies. Every celebrity wanted to be seen in this haven of ecstasy while every unknown was queuing round the block in the hope of getting in. But co-owner Steve Rubell, like a modern day emperor, always had the last word on who was allowed in mostly judged by appearances. His partner Ian Schrager, a much more reserved and shy individual reminisces about these glorious years where everything was possible in their nightclub – sex, drugs but above all, dancing the night away.
Tyrnauer has gathered some rare footage which is perfectly complimented by a series of interviews with members of staff from the barman to the doorman who claims he was inundated with offers of sex in exchange of admission.
The success of this palatial theatre turned into a lavish disco also attracted a plethora of drag queens and gays who made this oasis their nightly entertainment compared to the usual hostility and homophobia they were facing outside its doors.
A remarkable film about a groundbreaking place at its glory before the inevitable downfall – a must see!
The film opens in cinemas nationwide on Tuesday 15th June. For more details log onto studio54doc.com
THE BOY DOWNSTAIRS
This charming film marks the debut of writer/director Sophia Brooks, who tells the story of Diana (Zosia Mamet), a young woman who moves back to New York City following a few years in London. Life is rosy and she is ready for a fresh start in her Brooklyn apartment until she discovers that Ben (Matthew Shear), her ex boyfriend lives in the flat below. She tries hard to renew her friendship but the scars of their past relationship soon come back to the surface…
It is a strong premise probably influenced by the style of Woody Allen but the overall delivery lacks firm control especially in the flashback sequences where it is not always clear what the time period is.
Zosia Mamet delivers an engaging performance but it is difficult to see and understand her obsession with Ben particularly in the charmless presence of Matthew Shear.
Enjoyable but uneven!
Another excellent documentary released this week is Ian Bonhote and Peter Ettedgui’s fascinating study on the life and work of exceptional British designer Alexander (Lee) McQueen. Alexander showed great promise as an art student before he fulfilled his potential as one of the greatest British artist of recent times.
The film is told with raw honesty by some of his family members, friends and colleagues and is beautifully accompanied by Michael Nyman’s exhilarating score which adds to the energy and style that are McQueen’s distinct trademarks.
An outstanding film not just about a great designer but also about a restless soul very much worth seeing!
CELEBRATING CHRISTO: THE FRONTIER OF OUR DREAMS & BRIDGE TO CHRISTO
Last week the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in order to celebrate Christo’s eagerly awaited art project at the Serpentine hosted a couple of films at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
THE FRONTIER OF OUR DREAMS
made by Georgi Balabanov in 1996 focuses on the life of Christo in the West with his French wife and collaborator Jeanne Claude particularly at the time when they were preparing for the Reichstag project. A lot of emphasis is also given to Christo’s brother Anani, who decided to stay in Bulgaria and pursue a career as an actor.
BRIDGE TO CHRISTO
by Evgenia Atanasova –Teneva delivers a fascinating portrait of the Floating Piers on Lake Iseo in 2016.
An enjoyable and illuminating double bill about one of the most imaginative and exciting talents working currently across the globe!