BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY (15)

BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY (15)

Run time: 100 MINS

Director: Steve Sullivan

Cast: Johnny Vegas, Jon Ronson, John Cooper Clarke, Ross Noble, Frank Sidebottom, John Thomson, Mark Radcliffe, Martin Sievey,

Synopsis: Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story is the official documentary about maverick Manchester comedian Frank Sidebottom, and the life and art of his hidden creator Chris Sievey. Frank Sidebottom, remembered fondly as the man with the papier mache head, was the court jester of the Manchester music and comedy scene for over 25 years but only a privileged few knew the man inside. Being Frank tells a twisted tale of split personalities – a suburban creative superhero with a fanatical desire to preserve the myth he created, and eventually having to battle against being consumed by his alter ego.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wHcHaPkYnw

Appropriately this absorbing, tender documentary has been driven by a surge of fan loyalty and love. A grassroots Kickstarter campaign funded it, and the tireless devotion and commitment from film-maker Steve Sullivan created order in the chaos of VHS tapes, cardboard cut-outs, notebooks, costumes, memorabilia and inspired fanzine artwork.

The film charts the life of Chris Sievey from boyhood to his untimely death. It is the story of a driven man who yearned for stardom as leader of the power pop band The Freshies, only to become imprisoned by the alter ego he created – Frank Sidebottom.

The 2014 fiction film Frank was based on a memoir newspaper article by Jon Ronson, the writer and documentary film-maker, who makes an appearance in the current documentary along with Johnny Vegas, John Cooper Clarke, Ross Noble,  John Thomson, Mark Radcliffe and Martin Sievey,

Not always a flattering portrait and in no way glamorous, Being Frank is a powerful, unvarnished look at a way of life that was in turn surreal, tragic, hilarious and disastrous, and continues to be mythologised and romanticised.

Tragically, Chris Sievey died early, of cancer, at the age of 54 on June 21, 2010. More heartbreakingly still, his son Harry – also interviewed in the documentary – died in a road accident after the film was made.

Images courtesy of: ALTITUDE