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Dir. Steve Sullivan | UK 2018 | 103 mins | 15
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story is an inventive documentary that investigates the extraordinary life of the mystery man beneath the papier-mâché head of cult British comedy figure Frank Sidebottom. The debut feature documentary of Steve Sullivan, this film is the finest showcase of how sometimes the truth is arguably stranger – and definitely more twisted – than fiction.
Manchester native Chris Sievey was a songwriter, artist, comedian and wayward genius. In 1984, after more than a decade of trying and failing to make it in the record business, he turned his life into a fantastic, subversive piece of performance art: his fake-headed pop-star alter ego Frank Sidebottom. This manic, insane and mercurial star obscured his own creator and gained a dedicated army of fans with for example his own TV show, concert at Wembley Stadium and 2014′ fictional film Frank, starring Michael Fassbender. Though the character was a vehicle for success for Sievey, it became the artist’s eventual creative straightjacket.
Working from Sievey’s own comprehensive self-documentation (old cassettes, degraded video) and incorporating interviews with loved ones and admirers (including former band members DJ Mark Radliffe and Frank’s co-screenwriter Jon Ronson), director Steve Sullivan assembles a compellingly twisted tale of the unique, often troubled artist who always shoot for the moon – with or without those Pacman-esque eyes.
Tickets: £7.75 / £6.00 (inc. Poly Fund)