JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Advanced Style (Director: Lina Plioplyte) - April 29, 2014

Advanced Style

4.5 4.5
82 min.

Reviewed at the 2014 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
Putting on the glitz as the elixir of life

In the same varicose vein as Deeper Than Y (Ilona and Lane Siller’s marvellous look at how an urban pool and exercise class for people of a certain age reveals rich experiences from their lives—cross-reference below), Lina Plioplyte’s portrait of seniors with a cause uses its subject matter as the slight conceit to unmask the lives, loves and legacy of a bevy of New Yorkers who refuse to spend their last years withering away, full of tubes and meds or lovingly warehoused by their yet-to-be-inherited families.

Serving as emcee to the seven principal Fashionistas that—shamefully—would never be welcome on the Big Apple’s most famed glamour runways (not an anorexic among them) is fashion photog extraordinaire, Ari Seth Cohen, whose devotion and obvious love of the fodder for his blog and book of the same name gives the film a wonderfully personal feel (his sage advice to les belles femmes just prior to their appearance on The Ricki Lake Show is a highlight).

Hearing their age described as “between 50 and death,” observing no-holds-barred breast advice to the much younger set and taking a ringside seat at the vintage clothing store, Off Broadway, for the annual Hat Day event add much humour to the proceedings.

Yet throughout it all, Plioplyte deftly weaves together personal bits of revelation that will leave younger viewers happily amazed at the spunk and determination of these women to wear their clothes, hair and accessories to the fullest, allowing them to live long productive lives because they have a reason to get out of bed in the morning and painstakingly prepare themselves for another public appearance, decked out in high fashion that will seem gaudy or hopelessly dated to some, but—to a person—these long-in-the-cloth models turn heads continuously as they strut down their runway: the streets of New York City.

No one will be surprised that during the shoot, one of the octogenarian+ stars took her last, stylish bow. But when it’s learned just where and when she breathed her last, nothing seems a better way to leave planet earth and move along to another place where heavenly designs define the woman. JWR

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Director - Lina Plioplyte
Producer - Ari Seth Cohen
Cinematography - Lina Plioplyte
Original Music - Kelli Scarr
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Cross-reference(s): Please click on the image link(s) below
for related work: