Three amazing ladies

28 01 2016

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Recently, netflix came to Hong Kong. With the cold and miserable weather outside, the boyfriend and I spent some quality time on the couch and under the blanket, exploring some of the channel’s documentary offerings. Among them were two interesting films about very different, but striking, women.

“Iris” is a short doco about the life and style of octogenarian fashion star Iris Apfel, whose offbeat signature ‘look’ of chunky beads, oversized glasses and clashing patterns has recently become influential and much-admired. Iris comes through as a thoroughly charming character, with no only style but warmth and grace, and a surprisingly sharp wit for her age.

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The second documentary was an exploration of a much more complicated character – Nina Simone. Produced by her now-adult daughter, it documented the ups and tempestuous downs of the legendary singer, forthright civil rights campaigner, schizophrenic and victim (and perpetrator) of domestic violence.

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Finally, having exhausted netflix, I tracked down online something that I had been searching for for a long time, the cult Japanese film “Black Lizard”. The queer classic was written by Yukio Mishima and starred Akihiro Miwa. Miwa, a glamorous transvestite, plays the female lead with aplomb in this subversive, pulpy tale of Tokyo noir crime in the late 1960s. She has since gone on to become one of the great survivors of Japanese showbiz, a mainstay of morning chat shows, now with an iconic shock-blonde ‘do and her own pay-per-call psychic network. In her day though, it was her beauty that was the attention-getter. She was gorgeous.

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