Video City A-Z of Film – Staff Picks: B Films (But Not Necessarily ‘B-Films’…) (Pt.3)


B is for Bill Cunningham: New York

A modern documentary about a pioneering street fashion photographer. Mr Cunningham spends most of his time riding his bicycle through busy New York traffic, looking for and always finding something special. I must admit, before seeing the film a large part of me was expecting a fashion world sycophant gush-fest, but my curiosity won out. And thank heavens it did, because since seeing it several months ago, I must think about it every other day.

Not breaking too much with the typical art-doc form, the film follows his day-to-day life, taking in a handful of recent events, whilst also tracing his past. The films greatness lies in the ability to let its star dazzle. It deals with bizarre contradictions. Those of a man leading a monastic lifestyle, worker’s attire, modest meals and a cramped apartment filled with file cabinets of a life’s work, who deals (significantly but not exclusively) with the wonder and awe of high-end fashion and the glamour of New York society. He has complex and inspiring politics, remaining somehow both clear and mysterious. Deeply concerned with surface. Bill Cunningham is ever curious, and ever generous. What strikes me most about Mr Cunningham’s practice, is how he maintains a total openness, an almost complete lack of ego, and yet is able to form such a unique and personal vision of the amazing world that surrounds both him and us, through his tirelessly ecstatic work.

Here are some of my other B film recommendations:
Bringing Up Baby
Blood Of The Poet
Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls
Blue Angel
Blue Velvet
Brief Encounter
Before Stonewall



B is for Borat.


Based on one of the characters from the hit TV comedy series, The Ali G show, Borat is a documentary-style movie about a fictional Kazakh journalist who travels the United States recording real life interactions and interviews with Americans.


In his relentless pursuit to create controversy, Borat does and says the most unimaginable  and cringe-worthy things as he goes on a rampage to offend and annoy everyone he comes into contact with. 



Through his purposefully created comical appearance and persona, his character very cleverly invokes genuine reactions and responses from his subjects on various social and political issues. 


Its global popularity and commercial success was overshadowed, however, with record-breaking law suits, accusations of racism, homophobia and sexism. 


Borat is by far one of the funniest and most ingenious comedies I have ever seen.


Calling All Fashionistas:

Bill Cunningham New York (2010)

Legendary fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham, has a documentary all to himself. For  decades, Cunningham has been capturing and documenting the trends on the streets of NY and from high society soirees, publishing his findings in the Times Style section in his twin columns ‘On the Street’ and ‘Evening Hours’. Cunningham’s enormous body of work provides a fantastic chronicle of our times through the eye of an obsessive fashionista.


Also worth checking out:

L’amour Fou (2010)

Chronicling the lives of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge and the love that sustained their careers. Worth watching just for Saint Laurent’s retirement speech alone.


Valentino – The Last Emperor (2008)


September Issue (2009)

Anna Wintour and team prepare for the most important issue of the season. Lots of cold shoulders and walking on egg shells. Tension galore.


**Box Sets Available to Buy In Store**


Day Before Vol. 1

Day Before Vol.2