FIRST MONDAY IN MAY, US , 2016. Starring Andrew Bolton, Anna Wintour, Harry Koda, Baz Lurhman, John Galliano, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld. Directed by Andrew Rossi. 90 minutes. Rated M (Coarse Language)
Maybe it all depends on whether you are a fashion lover or not. If you are, there is no question as to whether you will want to see this film or not. It is chock full of fashion. If fashion passes you by or you have an ideological difficulty about catwalks, models, elaborate clothes which are probably seen and worn only by celebrities, you will probably hesitate.
The reason for the title is that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a gala show, dinner and ball on the first Monday in May. This is the background for the first Monday of 2015, something a show to end all shows.
The screenplay invites audiences to think about passion and art at the beginning of the film, showing classic pieces in galleries and suggesting that this is a 19th-century way of looking at art. In the modern world, there are all kinds of different arts which have their place in museums, including fashion. The interviewee explains that there are ideas in fashion, symbols and patterns, let alone all the expertise in craft that goes into the designing and manufacture of clothes. So, with this in mind, we go behind the scenes for this gala event.
There are quite a number of talking heads in the film, including designers John Galliano and Jean-Paul Gaultier, with Baz Luhrman putting in his two penneth worth. There are also a number of andthe film, he wears trousers which are several centimetres above the ankles and never socks (unless he is sometimes wearing jeans and sneakers). Presumably this is a fashion statement – and on the night itself he wears the short-leg trousers, tails, shoes and, of course, no socks.
The other key character in the film is Vovue editor, Anna Wintour, with mentions of the satiric performance parodying her by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. He has had her own documentary with The September Issue, about her work on Vogue. She’s not quite the dragon lady here, but explains herself as decisive. She has a great deal to do, making the decisions, inspecting the designs and layouts, the dresses, and the important diplomacy of places at the tables. There is also the issue of a contract with Rhiana, for her most elaborate dress on the red carpet, her speech and performance during the occasion – as well as her rather large fee.
As we go through the film, the various exhibits from China, especially the dresses, their impact, laid out, quite spectacular in their way.
And, on the night itself, the director, his camera and the audience are taken through all the exhibits by Kate Hudson, an opportunity to sit back, gaze at the extraordinary layouts, exhibits – and glimpse those celebrities and what they are wearing!
It’s one of those “who could ask for anything more!”.
Madman Released May 12th
Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.