Directed by Steve Sullivan • Documentary • With Frank Sidebottom, Chris Sievey, John Cooper Clarke • 2019 • 100 minutes
Frank Sidebottom was a performer who happened to wear a huge paper mâché head. Or he was a real person. It rather depended whom you asked. Either way, to his legion of devoted fans, he was a living, breathing cartoon character who hailed from the village of Timperley. Frank, forever 35, lived with his mum from whom he kept his fantastic show business career a secret, even though that career included regular TV appearances, shows at Wembley Stadium, and eventually even his own television show, not to mention records, videos, books, and art exhibitions. Frank Sidebottom became a national treasure in the UK, a living folk hero, part Robin Hood, part Tiny Tim, part Johnny Rotten. Hardly anyone knew that inside the mysterious entertainer’s fake head was Chris Sievey, former lead singer of The Freshies, who played Bruce Wayne to Frank’s Batman.
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story tells the twisted tale of a split personality, exploring the extraordinary secret life of a songwriter, artist, comedian and wayward genius. Sievey’s life was a fantastical, subversive piece of performance art. His greatest creation, the mysterious Frank Sidebottom, became a star – a manic, insane, mercurial star who obscured his own creator. Chris, who grew to resent Sidebottom, descended into alcoholism and bankruptcy, but his genius could not survive without ‘Being Frank’.
“A pop-culture outsider gets his colorful due.” —Hollywood Reporter