A revival of interest in the life of
Quentin Crisp appears to be underway. The latest sign is at the
Berlin International Film Festival, also known as Berlinale, where a
film about the English gay writer's later years in New York will
The February 7 Berlinale premiere of An
Englishman In New York follows close on the heels of the London
revival of Resident Alien, the play based on the life of
The movie focuses on Crisp's later
years; his ascension into New York society where he was lauded for
his flamboyance. It is a follow-up to the British television movie
The Naked Civil Servant. In that 1975 movie, John Hurt played
a younger Crisp, a role he reprises in Englishman.
The movie also stars Sex In The City
star Cynthia Nixon. The openly lesbian Nixon plays the role of Penny
Arcade, a close friend of Crisp in his latter years. The
playwright/performance artist helped create the performance piece The
Last Will and Testament of Quentin Crisp.
The movie was filmed in Crisp's adopted
home of New York City. “There is a real buzz about the project in
Manhattan as Quentin was a much loved and notorious figure –
everyone has a anecdote to tell about him,” Executive Producer
James Burstall said. “And we've been touched by the number of
friends and admirers of his (some of whom he never knew) who have
wanted to help with the project in a myriad of different ways.”
Crisp, the gay icon who enjoying
stumping everybody, joked that AIDS was just “a fad” and
homosexuality “a terrible disease.” He died in 1999, nearly one
month before his 91st birthday.
In addition to the Richard Laxton
directed and Brian Fillis written Englishman, Berlinale will
screen the 1975 prequel The Naked Civil Servant, and director
Jonathan Nossiter's 1990 biopic Resident Alien.