Joe Centofanti’s fascinating life deserves a better-tailored film.
MEN OF THE CLOTH (Vicki Vasilopoulos). 96 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (July 11). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NN
My wife is a knitwear designer, so she has an obvious interest in movies about fashion and making clothes. She got a lot more out of Men Of The Cloth than I did.
Vicki Vasilopoulos turns a potentially interesting subject - the dying art of Italian tailoring - into a plodding, indifferently shot, obnoxiously scored documentary.
A fashion journalist specializing in the menswear industry, Vasilopoulos has recorded extensive interviews with aging master tailors Nino Corvato, Joe Centofanti and Checchino Fonticoli at their places of work (in New York, Pennsylvania and Italy respectively), but unlike her subjects she has no feel for a gracefully shaped product.
Men Of The Cloth resolutely avoids anything that might seem overly dramatic or illuminating, even when its subjects offer up potentially fascinating stories. Centofanti, for instance, talks briefly about being stationed in Ethiopia with the Italian army just before the Second World War. He spent five years as a POW in Kenya, where he found work making clothes for British officers. Vasilopoulos spends maybe a minute and a half on that.
There's also the nagging problem that she shot much of the footage several years ago with low-resolution cameras, so it looks terrible. Really, it's a sin to make a movie this sloppy about so stylish an art.