Review: ‘The British Guide to Showing Off’

'The British Guide to Showing Off'

Heartfelt and humorous, "The British Guide to Showing Off" focuses on the life and times of eccentric English artist Andrew Logan and his Alternative Miss World competition. Like Logan's artwork, helmer Jes Benstock's playful docu is a mixed-media collage, blending archival footage and photos, commentary from Logan and his relatives, talking heads from the art, fashion, music and theater worlds, and inventive animation. Limited arthouse release in the U.K. will segue to the smallscreen. Offshore, broadcasters, gay fests and museum cinematheques will want a look.

Heartfelt and humorous, “The British Guide to Showing Off” focuses on the life and times of eccentric English artist Andrew Logan and his Alternative Miss World competition. Like Logan’s artwork, helmer Jes Benstock’s playful docu is a mixed-media collage, blending archival footage and photos, commentary from Logan and his relatives, talking heads from the art, fashion, music and theater worlds, and inventive animation. Limited arthouse release in the U.K. will segue to the smallscreen. Offshore, broadcasters, gay fests and museum cinematheques will want a look.

Born in 1945, Logan is known for transforming everyday objects into new and different versions. This is the spirit behind AMW, launched in 1972 as a forum for the extravagant, extreme and extraordinary. Held sporadically when Logan and partner Michael Davis raise enough funds, the competition boasts a different theme each time; over the years, it has attracted a who’s-who of cult figures as well as friends and family. Fascinating footage from past pageants, highlighting outrageous day wear, evening wear and swim wear, as well as the surrounding ambience, makes one long for more. Fittingly, the tech package feels handcrafted.

The British Guide to Showing Off

Docu - U.K.

Production

A Verve release of a Film London presentation of a Living Cinema production of a Microwave Film in association with BBC Films, Film Agency Wales. Produced by Dorigen Hammond. Directed by Jes Benstock.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Denzil Armour-Brown, Andrew David Clark, Jonny Cocking; editor, Stephen Boucher, music, Mike Roberts; art director, Andrew Savage. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (competing), July 3, 2011. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Andrew Logan, Michael Davis, Grayson Perry, Zandra Rhodes, Brian Eno, Richard O'Brien, Andrey Bartenev.

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