Photo credit: http://www.hautefashionafrica.com/tag/spike-lee/
Cut and pasted from the film's official website:
“It’s A Mans Story. That’s what it’s all about. I’ve only ever filmed it as a journey of a guy” - Director Varon Bonicos.
Tailor to Hollywood’s A-list, and a superstar in his own right, Ozwald Boateng is a dynamic force of energy, passion and colour.
1998: already celebrated as one of the most talented menswear designers in the world, Ozwald Boateng is about to go bankrupt and divorce his first wife. Through luck and circumstance director Varon Bonicos is able to switch on a camera. It continues to roll for the next twelve years. What emerges is a groundbreaking film that takes us on an exhilarating behind-the-scenes ride into the world of high fashion with one of one of the most influential menswear designers of his generation. Ending in 2010 when Boateng closes London Fashion Week with the biggest menswear show in history, Bonicos is able to get behind the headlines and chart Boateng’s singular dream to succeed. Instinctive, flawed and generous, A Man’s Story goes to the very heart of what Boateng has spent an entire career trying to distil: “what it is to be a man.”
The film's website, where you can view the trailer, is here:
The film is available for pre-order from Amazon here:
I saw a special screening of this today at the Brixton Ritzy, followed by a Q&A with the Director Varon Bonicos and Ozwald Boateng.
Firstly, I really enjoyed the film. This is because it told the story of Boateng the man, rather than Boateng the superstar and the fashion icon.
It begins in 1998, a really bleak time for Boateng, because his business has just gone bankrupt and he and his first wife are getting divorced. I was inspired by the fact that Boateng describes this as a time of "blackness" but says that he got through it by focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel and by having a real "belief" that things would get better and work out for him. He kept getting up every day and expecting things to go well. It is also a fact, that when you are at rock bottom, the only way is up.
Things do of course get better, he restarts his own business and becomes the Creative Director for Givenchy. He meets and then marries a stunningly beautiful Russian model, and has two children (a girl and a boy) with her. He starts to dress A list Hollywood stars and breaks into America.
However, the end of the film covers the breakdown of his second marriage and his subsequent divorce. The film is brutally honest. Boateng describes very movingly what it was like discovering his wife was having an affair when he found the text messages from her lover on the phone. It takes guts to admit, and to show, that your wife is cheating on you. The film, and Boateng at the Q&A, talked about the conflicting demands of work and family, and how you have to prioritise and decide what is really important to you. The film also touches briefly on the effects of family breakdown and divorce and the people at the centre of this breakdown, the children.
I thought it was both brave and courageous of Boateng to allow the Director to make the pressure of work, his wife's adultery, and his marriage breakdown one of the key themes in the film. Boateng also showed that he was vulnerable and admitted to weakness; respect to him for that. I have zero time for the "real men don't cry" argument. If you have a heart, you will be heartbroken and damaged by your wife committing adultery, your marriage breaking down, losing your children, and the effects of the separation and divorce on your children.
I wanted to end on an upbeat note, because what the film made me realise was that most human beings, not matter how rich and successful, have the same worries, concerns and problems as the rest of us. But what I found inspirational was that one of the questions from the floor asked Boateng how he had managed to become a tailor, when no doubt his parents would have been opposed to it, wanting him to be a doctor or a lawyer. Boateng said that he had just followed his dream, which was to be a fashion designer, because he recognised very early on that he had a creative talent. I too am now trying to follow my dream; I will see where it takes me!
I am recommending this film to EVERYONE, especially those with an interest in the human condition. This film is not about fashion and the fashion industry; it is about one man's journey in pursuit of his dream, the hardships he faced and overcame, and the sacrifices that he made. Everyone should be able to relate to it and learn from it.