Andrew Logan has been organising The Alternative Miss World contests for well over 30 years - though contest is something of a misnomer. Jez Benstock's charming and witty documentary captures perfectly the mood of anarchically creative mayhem that is the result of Andrew's efforts.
Andrew is the central figure in the film, a wonderful blend of calm charm and cheerful anxiety. He has to raise enough cash to put on the most recent event (2009), as well as find a suitable venue, and as ever, it's a struggle. Although his contests have a winner, the taking part is definitely the main point of the evening. There is no shortage of contestants eager and willing to create flamboyant costumes, but it's not the kind of thing that major banks and similar sponsors are eager to be associated with.
The film follows Andrew's adventures, but also charts the previous AMW events, going right back to the punk era. We also have a fascinating collection of talking heads, friends and allies, such as Zandra Rhodes, Brian Eno, Richard O'Brien, Ruby Wax and many more. What becomes increasingly clear as the film progresses (and even more so if you meet Andrew himself as I did at the Bath Film Festival) is that he has a personality that inspires loyalty, enthusiasm and generosity, since that is what himself possesses. Although this may not be a film that many people will have a chance to see, it is a welcome antidote to the hi-tech nonsense with which we are mostly assaulted these days. Make an effort and you will be rewarded.
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