‘Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist’: Film Review

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Lorna Tucker’s documentary chronicles the colourful life and profession of the famed British dressmaker Vivienne Westwood.

The grandiosely titled Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist demonstrates the pitfalls of creating a movie about somebody who cooperates whereas clearly probably not desirous to. Lorna Tucker’s documentary profiling famed dressmaker Vivienne Westwood shows a real pressure between the filmmaker and her topic that originally proves intriguing. Sadly, that pressure quickly dissipates, and all that is left is a a lot too cursory portrait of a determine whose fascinating life and profession ought to have led to a extra attention-grabbing movie.

The designer proves an irascible determine from the beginning, complaining concerning the filmmaker’s questions and declaring that she has little curiosity in rehashing her life. Not lengthy afterwards, when requested about her relationship with The Intercourse Pistols, Westwood is equally dismissive.

“I am unable to be bothered with them, both,” she says, sighing. “I do not know what we’ll do.” From the dutiful, uninspired remedy Tucker offers her topic, it will seem that she did not, both.

The movie touches all of the biographical bases, starting with Westwood’s extra standard formative years as a married schoolteacher with a son. Her romantic {and professional} relationship with Malcom McLaren proved a turning level, with the pair opening a boutique retailer on King’s Highway that showcased their punk style designs and have become a sensation. “We invented punk,” Westwood declares within the movie, not inaccurately. She additionally says that their relationship soured due to McLaren’s incapability to alter. “I obtained intellectually tired of Malcolm,” she says.

Westwood started her profession as an iconoclast however ultimately grew to become an establishment. Her privately owned firm now has over 60 stores; she was honored with the title of Dame in 2006; and he or she obtained a retrospective exhibition in 2004 by London’s Victoria & Albert Museum that was the most important ever dedicated to a residing British dressmaker. Alongside the best way, she additionally obtained greater than her share of essential brickbats, her outlandish designs typically mocked by the style institution and the press.

Whereas the intensive archival footage fascinates, the documentary is handiest when merely following Westwood round, whether or not she’s puttering round her cluttered house or engaged on her newest designs. It additionally contains a touching love story, between Westwood and her second husband {and professional} associate Andreas Kronthaler, who clearly adores her and dotes on her obsessively.

The director, a former style mannequin, demonstrates a familiarity with the milieu that offers the movie an simple authenticity. However she would not arrange her materials notably effectively, chronicling her topic’s life in such scattershot style that viewers not already accustomed to Westwood’s profession could develop into annoyed. Some parts, such because the designer’s unflagging work on behalf of environmental causes, fly by so rapidly that they barely make an impression; whereas others, together with a predictable sequence of speaking heads (together with Andre Leon Talley and Kate Moss) delivering effusive reward of Westwood, go on for too lengthy.

Fortuitously, Westwood is such a charismatic, arresting determine that the documentary proves very entertaining at instances. Now in her late seventies, she nonetheless exudes a youthful zestfulness that makes her appear a lot youthful than her years. The documentary ends with a montage of her taking bows on numerous catwalks, her gleeful delight, seemingly at getting one over on the system, proving infectious.

Manufacturing: Completed Movies Productions, Tdog Productions, Ardour Footage
Distributor: Greenwich Leisure
Director: Lorna Tucker
Producers: Eleanor Emptage, Shirine Greatest, Nicole Stott, John Battsek
Govt producers: Anna Godas, Leo Haider
Administrators of pictures: Sam Brown, James Moriarty
Editor: Paul Carlin
Composer: Dan Jones

80 minutes

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