Brian Buzzini & John Coulter (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)
On Sunday, I headed to the Village East by Angelika in NYC to take in my first Tribeca film of the year — the long-awaited doc All Man: The International Male Story.
Directed by Bryan Darling and Jesse Finley Reed, All Man faithfully and affectionately documents the creation of the outrageously camp (or was it?) International Male catalogue, the publication masquerading as a magazine that always seemed to find its way into our mailboxes ... how did they know exactly to whom to send it?! (Maybe by purchasing mailing lists from places like Chess King in search of queens.)
Unlike the current White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch, which roasts the infamous, sexed-up A&F catalogues, All Man — while touching on complex topics like race and male beauty standards, feels more official via the cheerful participation of its creator Gene Burkard (who submitted to extensive interviews before he died at the end of 2020) and VP and head buyer Gloria Tomita.
Color me interested. (Image via International Male)
It may have been a bit of a concession not to dwell on the negative to land their essential presence, but I didn't feel the film suffered for it. Rather, it comes off much as the catalogue did — interviews looking like a riot of color — as a technical marvel: Bright Light Bright Light's perfect score, impeccable animations, a fantastic sampling of archival materials.