The New York nightclub Studio 54 was so iconic that we feel like we know its story, but this documentary is packed with never-heard details that cast it in a whole new light. The film Studio 54 is solidly well-made, assembled with an insider’s perspective and packed with photos and footage of the top stars of the day partying like there’s no tomorrow.
This film feels like a dream: a chance to sit down with Ian McKellen and talk about his life and career. McKellen: Playing the Part is a fascinating collection of interviews, snapshots, home movies and film clips, all narrated by the chatty McKellen, who fills every moment with intelligence, humour and emotion.
With a story so detailed that it feels autobiographical, this earthy, natural drama can’t help but catch the audience by surprise as it pushes the characters through a series of intense situations. Golden Boy, is a strongly personal variation on the usual story of a young man who ends up lost on the streets of Los Angeles.
Freelancers Anonymous taps into the current issue of underemployment, where employers cut hours and benefits, forcing people to take multiple jobs to make ends meet. Thankfully, director Sonia Sebastian and writers Lisa Cordileone and Amy Dellagiarino never get overly serious about this, keeping things very light while grounding the humour in likeable characters.
Rupert Everett spent the past decade working on his passion project The Happy Prince, tracing the final three years in the life of Oscar Wilde. Ironically, these aren’t particularly happy years, following his post-prison exile from England as he loses status, money and finally his health, until his death at age 46 in 1900.
Anything is a warm and thoughtful drama that examines some very big themes without taking the usual route through them. Not only is it centred on a middle-aged man, but it also features a main character whose gender identity is never defined because it doesn’t actually matter. No, this is a film about community and belonging, and it fiercely refuses to fit in a box.
It’s fairly easy to say that you’ve never seen a film quite like Good Manners. This Brazilian odyssey mixes elements of comedy, fantasy, horror and dark drama to tell a story that continually subverts expectations. It’s also made with a resonant sense of emotional depth that gets under the skin, so the story and characters become more involving as the movie gets increasingly bizarre.
For his writing-directing debut, actor Rupert Everett ambitiously recreates the final three years of Oscar Wilde’s life in a swirling, artistic odyssey. Everett has a lifelong interest in Wilde, including roles in films based on Wilde’s work and a series of TV documentary explorations of homosexuality in Victorian Britain. So in many ways The Happy Prince feels like the culmination of Everett’s life’s work.
Wearing its queer credentials on its brightly coloured, ruffled sleeve, this flamboyant drama delivers a remarkably steely message about identity. It may be archly made by first-time feature director Trudie Styler (aka Mrs Sting), but it’s also beautifully anchored in another richly detailed, deeply committed performance from Alex Lawther.
Antonio Lopez was one of the most influential people in the fashion world, although almost no one outside it has heard of him. And this documentary is designed to set the record straight, as it were. It’s a lively, skilfully assembled portrait of a vibrant artist whose life and work made an indelible mark not just within fashion circles but in pop culture at large.