Definition September 2021 - Web


Small-town boy

Jackson Warner Lewis talks chasing the sun and getting up close and personal with the actors on the set of Swan Song

WORDS. Emily Williamson IMAGES. Jackson Warner Lewis

A film full of heart, dripping with wit and laced with glitz, Swan Song is, on the surface, a tale about a man from Sandusky, Ohio – home town to the director Todd Stephens. It comes as a spiritual successor to Stephens‘ Edge of Seventeen, and Gypsy 83 , which all share the setting. Our protagonist, Patrick “Mr Pat” Pitsenbarger (Udo Kier), is based on a real person who was something of an idol for the director in his younger days. The film itself largely takes place over a single day, chronicling his voyage for one last hairdressing gig for the funeral of his friend, Rita (Linda Evans). DOP Jackson Warner Lewis, who describes the film as a “senior citizen coming-of-age story”, was cognisant of how personal this film would be to the director, as well as the people he met during production. They told him tales of Mr Pat and the local gay bar, the Universal Fruit and Nut Company. SANDUSKY CENTRE-STAGE Swan Song opens with Mr Pat, clad in fur and adorned in finery, sashaying through stage curtains to raucous applause, but empty seats. “I’m Mr Pat and I’m back,” he declares, self-assured. This glamorous glimpse into his heyday immediately dissipates when he wakes up in a much more dour setting – a nursing home. The cold, bleak locale provides the metric to which we compare the warmer, more


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