Before the art duo Pierre et Gilles, before fashion photographer David LaChapelle, before the artist Jeff Koons, and before the neo-Pop movement broke, there was director James Bidgood and his film PINK NARCISSUS. A cult classic, it is so considered more for its highly artistic production values than for its narrative.
The film is essentially a piece of gay erotica (more erotic than explicit) about an impossibly handsome young man (played by Bobby Kendall), obsessed with his own beauty and youth, who escapes the realities of street life through intricately choreographed fantasies in which he portrays a Roman slave, a matador, a wood nymph, and a harem boy. Characterized by searingly bright colors and highly stylized visual elements (sets, props, and costumes), Bidgood’s design for the film has been endlessly emulated by commercials and photographers to this day. PINK NARCISSUS is a “must see” for anyone interested in contemporary art, the pre-Stonewall sensibility, or the history of underground film.
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