“Bill Cunningham New York” Is A Fashionable Delight

April 20, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

By Caroline Foster
cfoster@smu.edu

The official movie poster for "Bill Cunningham New York" featuring NYC's finest - and fashionable.

The documentary “Bill Cunningham New York” follows The New York Times fashion and party photographer as he leads his extraordinary yet unique life. Every morning, rain or snow, clouds or sun, Cunningham navigates his bicycle through the busy streets of New York City with a camera around his neck ready to take pictures.

He focuses on what people are wearing, from a hat to a shoe and everything in between. He looks for the out of ordinary fashion, not the typical “cookie cutter” looks many New Yorkers wear. Cunningham takes pictures quickly and unobtrusively which are then displayed in the style section in the Sunday edition of The New York Times.

For all his photo-snapping in public, Cunningham is a very private person. He has few friends except for those in the business. Light is shed on his personal life and what his family thought of his foray into the fashion industry. Those who work with Cunningham as well as many people who have been featured in his photographs are interviewed in the film. Their anecdotes and accolades about the man behind the lens paint the picture of a genuine person who has dedicated his life to his work.

Cunningham’s sweet disposition and humble attitude make the film extremely enjoyable and uplifting to watch. To see a man who lives amongst countless file cabinets filled with negatives of his old photos in a small corner apartment in Carnegie Hall adds to the unique story of Cunningham. Whether you have an interest in style or not, Cunningham’s dedication to his work is something we can all admire.

Inspiring – that’s the one word to describe this fashion documentary. An 80-year-old man who is as passionate about his work today as he was fifty years ago is remarkable. As college students it’s hard to decide what to eat for breakfast, let alone a passion to pursue for the rest of our lives. But Bill Cunningham is a remarkable and endearing example of the centuries old quote by Confucius “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

“Bill Cunningham New York” is currently showing at the Angelika Dallas in Mockingbird Station. This is a limited engagement so see it while it’s here!

Special Showing of “When the Levees Broke”

August 30, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Aida Ahmed
aahmed@smu.edu

If you’re a freshman or if you’ve been keeping up with our NOLA Now blog you may be familiar with this year’s freshman reading, “Zeitoun”. This week’s fifth year anniversary of Hurrican Katrina culminates in the SMU premiere and discussion of Spike Lee’s documentary of “When the Levees Broke” Tuesday August 31, at 5 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater.

Director of the SMU Human Rights Program, Dr. Rick Halperin, will be opening the showing with a few words about Katrina and the human rights issues violated in the disaster.

Students are invited to stay for pizza, cookies and drinks and discuss the film.

‘Undocumented’ Brings Illegal
Immigration to Campus

October 2, 2008 by · Comments Off 

By Erin Hagan
ehagan@smu.edu

Dallas-native and director Justine Malone is the mastermind behind a politically-charged, eye-opening documentary that had its north-Texas premiere Wednesday evening in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium.

“Undocumented” takes a look at the issues that surround illegal immigration and the people affected by a faulty immigration policy in the U.S. Malone and producer Robert Curlin were present for discussion following the film.

After concocting the idea for the film, Malone said he posted a job search on Craigslist.com to find a crew. The team traveled to more than 25 cities across the country, spending more than six months to create the documentary.

“I saw my neighborhood, which is in Dallas, Texas, transforming before my eyes,” Malone says in the film’s trailer, explaining why he decided to take on the project.

The film gave a face to the many individuals battling immigration issues. From local government officials trying to secure borders to illegal migrant families living in dilapidated housing, both sides of the great debate voiced their opinions.

The film opened to a crowded auditorium with feedback expressed by students, faculty and friends of the film crew after the screening.

History professor Ben Johnson, also a contributing author of “Bordertown: The Odyssey of an American Place,” said he felt the movie lacked important details and included others that unfairly manipulated the movie, such as the footage of 9/11.

“To display that footage of 9/11, particularly the people who jumped out of the building, in the context of a movie, primarily about Latino immigration, is sensationalistic and profoundly unfair,” Johnson said.

While images in the film suggested little to no assimilation on behalf of the undocumented migrants, Johnson said that social science research regarding assimilation should have been expressed by the film. He said those studies show that second generation Hispanics are inclined to be bilingual and third generation speakers usually are limited to speaking English only. In addition, a third of U.S.-born Hispanics marry non-Hispanics, he said.

“In the most visceral and intimate level possible,” Johnson said, “people are becoming part of American society.”

Those of Hispanic heritage who voiced their opinions shared a common sense in that they felt they were not represented fairly in the documentary.

Senior Yuritza Morales, a psychology and sociology double major, said the film did not represent those migrants who are educated, along with the difficulties of obtaining legal citizenship and healthcare.

“Overall, I liked the movie, but I think it’s lacking a viewpoint from a proud Mexican-American,” Alan Pérez, a junior political science and Spanish double major, said.

Scotty Holt, a family friend of director Malone’s and a father to an SMU freshman, said he was proud of the film.

“I think he [Malone] did a very good job. And what has he done? He’s gotten us all talking. He’s got us all thinking,” Holt said amidst criticism to the documentary.

In the weeks to come, these are issues that will infiltrate the debates and campaigns. Regardless of personal opinion, “Undocumented” has given a voice to the undocumented workers in this country, their families and their countrymen looking for better opportunities across the border.

“As long as our government is not securing borders and securing the immigration system, we’re going to be left to fight this out on the streets– that’s what I want to prevent,” Malone said.