Love, Cecil is a touching portrait of photographer, costume designer and outspoken dandy, Cecil Beaton. With a mix of still images, film footage and contemporary interviews and footage the audience is introduced to the character that was Cecil.
“I’m pretty near uneducated,” he brags when speaking of his upbringing. He went to excellent schools, he just couldn’t quite find a way to focus on studying. “It’s impossible to decipher his sentences,” said Vreeland when asked about digging through the reams of information to create her film. The narration of the film is taken directly from Beaton’s writings.
“Personalities that are flawed always tell a good story. Beaton is the most flawed personality. It tells a good story and makes a good movie.” – Lisa Immordino Vreeland
As a youth, he dressed in his mother’s clothes and makeup and began experimenting with photography. He had an appetite for beauty and found himself as a young man surrounded by it in a group of creatives who called themselves Bright Young Things. His photography went on to gain greater attention after he was asked to photograph Queen Elizabeth. He went on to create costumes for the films My Fair Lady and Gigi and the musicals The Grass Harp and Coco on Broadway.
“I was so tormented with ambition. After you’ve started for the end of the rainbow it’s impossible to go back.” -Cecil Beaton
Beaton had passionate love affairs, most famously with Greta Garbo and keep diligent diaries and scrapbooks throughout his life. He published a total of 38 books. Vreeland went through all of those books, 47 scrapbooks, 9,000 vintage prints and 1,000’s of folders of negatives to compile the material for the film.
At the Texas premiere of the film, at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival on Thursday, November 9, director Lisa Immordino Vreeland was interviewed by Lynn Wyatt. Vreeland shared that after receiving feedback from an early screening the filmmakers had to go back and re-edit the film to make Beaton more likable.
“…the pursuit of beauty. It’s a privilege to think of your life in terms of beauty.” – Ms. Vreeland on Beaton
The film ends with these profound words from Beaton, spoken by the film’s narrator Rupert Everett, “Be daring, be different, Be Impractical.”
Today is the final day of the 2017 festival go to HCAF17.org to learn more.