Bigger than Life/ American Gigolo + Introduction at HOME

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor

Bigger than Life / American Gigolo + Introduction at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 16 November 2019, from £7.50 - Book now

It features music by Blondie and Giorgio Moroder, suits by Armani and a simmering, career-making performance by Richard Gere — Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo is undisputedly one of the most stylish films of the 1980s. Gere plays Julian Kaye, a high-class prostitute who positively gleams amongst the sun and palms of Los Angeles. Meticulously turned-out, with a taste for fast convertibles and expensive sunglasses, his clientele is exclusively wealthy older women.

Julian embodies the kind of solipsistic materialism that came to define 1980s America in the popular imagination. A consumer, but also routinely consumed, we meet Julian as his life begins to unravel. Schrader marries his trademarked brand of existential character study (the director of Hardcore and Blue Collar also co-wrote Taxi Driver and Raging Bull) with the generic conventions of film noir and the seedy excitements of the erotic thriller, as one bad trick turns into a false murder charge and Julian is left trying to clear his name.

Julian’s strictly ordered life quickly crumbles, and his servile position within the upper echelons is made abundantly clear as friends and clients alike begin to melt away. Only Michelle (Lauren Hutton), a lover, patron and the wife of a US senator, remains an ally as Julian turns detective in an attempt to clear his name. Released in 1980, American Gigolo has a seventies sensibility and an eighties wardrobe. There’s darkness and a mean grit to this story of a male prostitute caught in the wheels of power, but Moroder wrote Blondie hit Call Me for the soundtrack, while fashion blogs and men’s magazines continue to obsess over the menswear on show.

Local programmers Bigger Than Life present the film from a rare 35mm print with an introduction by film writer Christina Newland. Editor of the upcoming critical anthology She Found It At The Movies: Women Writers on Sex, Desire & Cinema, Newland wrote in Sight & Sound that “spiritual sickness never looked so good” as in American Gigolo. The presentation at HOME should illuminate some of the complexities and contradictions which are essential to the movie, and present viewers with context for a film which simultaneously borrows a conclusion from Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket and features enough full-frontal nudity to turn its star into a sex symbol.


Bigger than Life / American Gigolo + Introduction at HOME Manchester, Manchester

16 November 2019 12:45 pm
From £7.50

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Activity Until 3 February 2023, from £30.00

Baumka Conscious Clubbing at Victoria Warehouse

Music Until 16 February 2023, from £9.50

Donna Candy at SOUP

vegan super club
Activity Until 17 February 2023, from £50

Supper Club at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School

Exhibitions Until 18 February 2023, FREE

The Confessional at HOME

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME
Festivals Until 18 February 2023,

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside
Families Until 19 February 2023, from £14.00

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside CANCELLED

Activity Until 25 February 2023, from £13

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Tour

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts
Families Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00

Fairy Tales at Z-arts

Activity Until 6 March 2023, from £6.00

Shake it off: Music Video Dance Class with Girl Gang

Exhibitions 2 February–6 March 2023, FREE

Screen Time at KERB

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre
Families Until 11 March 2023, from £20.00

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre

Childrens Until 18 March 2023, FREE

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth