Pink Narcissus

USA 1971. Dir James Bidgood.

With Bobby Kendall, Don Brooks. Costume and set design James Bidgood. c.71 min

With experience in still photography and stage costume design, but no training in film whatsoever, Bidgood shot Pink Narcissus on the cheap in the confines of his bedroom, using Bolex cameras with 8mm Kodachrome and eventually 16mm Ektachrome stock. It took over seven years to make and the result is an epic and bold work. A series of homoerotic fantasies, the film’s singular aesthetic is at once highly camp and deliberately trashy, yet moving and stunningly beautiful. Its charming ‘naivety’ evokes early film pioneers such as Méliès or de Chomon and like them Bidgood was heavily invested in fabricating his own elaborate sets and costumes, as well as his own universe of solutions and tricks. Sadly, the film was not edited by the artist himself who had, by the early 1970s, lost creative control of his mesmerising footage.