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FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE FEATURE NARRATIVE

AN ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK

TFF 2009
FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE AN ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK [TFF 2009]

"Be yourself no matter what they say," said Quentin Crisp, the English writer and raconteur who rose to iconic stardom after the publication of his 1968 memoir, The Naked Civil Servant. Crisp's celebration of queer sexuality, defiant exhibitionism, and eyebrow-raising gender-bending drew admiration and curiosity alongside hostility and violence. The 1975 film that followed only increased Crisp's celebrity and made a star out of the actor who portrayed him, John Hurt. Now, more than 30 years later, Hurt revisits the role as director Richard Laxton constructs a portrait of Crisp's later life in New York, where he moved in 1981 at the age of 72.

In this smart, sensitive drama, Laxton traverses the East Village and the legendary corners of gay culture, eliciting nostalgia while capturing the shifting sensibilities within New York's gay and lesbian community during that pivotal era. After initial outpours of adulation from celebrities and artists, Crisp's insightful, witty, and sharp comments begin to cut against him as fears heighten in response to the first outbreak of AIDS. Hurt's heartfelt and deeply embodied reprisal of the role is astonishing throughout, and Cynthia Nixon (as Penny Arcade), Swoosie Kurtz, Jonathan Tucker, and Denis O'Hare colorfully round out the excellent supporting cast.

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"Be yourself no matter what they say," said Quentin Crisp, the English writer and raconteur who rose to iconic stardom after the publication of his 1968 memoir, The Naked Civil Servant. Crisp's celebration of queer sexuality, defiant exhibitionism, and eyebrow-raising gender-bending drew admiration and curiosity alongside hostility and violence. The 1975 film that followed only increased Crisp's celebrity and made a star out of the actor who portrayed him, John Hurt. Now, more than 30 years later, Hurt revisits the role as director Richard Laxton constructs a portrait of Crisp's later life in New York, where he moved in 1981 at the age of 72.

In this smart, sensitive drama, Laxton traverses the East Village and the legendary corners of gay culture, eliciting nostalgia while capturing the shifting sensibilities within New York's gay and lesbian community during that pivotal era. After initial outpours of adulation from celebrities and artists, Crisp's insightful, witty, and sharp comments begin to cut against him as fears heighten in response to the first outbreak of AIDS. Hurt's heartfelt and deeply embodied reprisal of the role is astonishing throughout, and Cynthia Nixon (as Penny Arcade), Swoosie Kurtz, Jonathan Tucker, and Denis O'Hare colorfully round out the excellent supporting cast.

Film Information
Year: 2008
Length: 74 minutes
Language: English
Country: U.K.
Premiere: North American
Cast & Credits
Primary Cast: John Hurt, Cynthia Nixon, Denis O'Hare, Jonathan Tucker, Swoosie Kurtz
Director: Richard Laxton
Screenwriter: Brian Fillis
Producer: Amanda Jenks
Executive Producers: James Burstall, Susie Field, Joey Attawia
Co-Producer: Linda Moran, Rene Bastian, Victoria Goodall
Director of Photography: Yaron Orbach
Production Designer: Beth Mickle
Contacts

Print Source
Sarah Diggins
Leopard International Ltd.
1-3 St Peter's Street London, England N1 8JD
Phone: +44 207 704 3300
sarahdiggins@leopardfilms.com

Press Contact
Richard Turner
Henry's House
108 Great Russell Street London, England WC1B 3NA
Phone: +44 207 291 3021
richard@henryshouse.com

Main Contact
Linda Moran
Producer
Belladonna Productions
118 West 22nd Street, 3rd Fl. New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212 807 0108
linda@belladonna.bz

Print Source
Sarah Diggins
Leopard International Ltd.
1-3 St Peter's Street London, England N1 8JD
Phone: +44 207 704 3300
sarahdiggins@leopardfilms.com

Press Contact
Richard Turner
Henry's House
108 Great Russell Street London, England WC1B 3NA
Phone: +44 207 291 3021
richard@henryshouse.com

Main Contact
Linda Moran
Producer
Belladonna Productions
118 West 22nd Street, 3rd Fl. New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212 807 0108
linda@belladonna.bz

Special Note

Co-presented by

 

 

About the Director(s)

Richard Laxton (b. 1967, London) began his directing career in 1993 with his short I Bet It Will Rain. Richard went on to gain substantial recognition with his BAFTA-nominated television dramas The Riff Raff Element, Band of Gold, and A Wing and a Prayer. Richard made his feature film debut in 2006 with Life and Lyrics and went on to direct Grow Your Own, Free Agents (for Big Talk/Channel 4), and Hancock & Joan for World/BBC. Laxton is currently developing the features Samuel Mapp and Effie, written by Emma Thompson.

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