“Do we have to cover every bit of it, you know?” Dame Vivienne Westwood teases filmmaker Lorna Tucker early in the straightforward but poppy “Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist.” “It’s so boring to say all this!” At a brusque eighty-minute running time, there’s no danger of extinguishing the “all-this” of Westwood’s provocation, activism and relentless reinvention across four decades in the sphere of British fashion, from the “swinging sixties” to the 1970s days when she and her late ex-partner and student of Situationism Malcolm McLaren launched punk style and other incendiaries (The Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow), from the confines of “SEX,” their Kings Road boutique, to today’s sixty-outlet retail chain around the world that she still controls. Her prickly proclamations are at the heart of Tucker’s telling: even at the age of seventy-seven, Westwood is restless and notions pour from her. (Visionary in the house.) Three years in the making, “Westwood” is less comprehensive biography than grumpy, captivating depth charge. 80m. (Ray Pride)
“Westwood” opens Friday, July 13 at the Music Box.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.