I came across André's obituary this past Saturday and that, as you can imagine, sent me down an interesting spiderhole.
Neat doc about a one-of-a-kind man (an incredibly tall man, I might add!) who reminds me that the very best giants—intellectual, physical, or otherwise—are often the gentlest.
André appeared to dress so flamboyantly, in part (at least according to Anna Wintour) because "He was putting on his armor before taking on the world."
There's a scene near the end when André shows—finally and fully—just how fragile he really was, and that's inarguably my favorite scene in the entire documentary. Without it, there's little to counterbalance the obnoxiousness and verbosity. With it, however, a great deal more of the puzzle finally falls into place.
We never really know someone (ourselves included), but I'm much more appreciative of all that André brought to the party now that I've seen him with his guard down.
p.s. On three occasions, [André and] a couple childhood friends recount that "On Sunday mornings, his grandmother would bake him a pan of a dozen biscuits... and André would eat them all!" Near the end of the film, André returns to Durham, NC where he checks himself into Duke University Medical Center to lose weight. It is an absolutely hilarious callback, because it is only then and there that he discovers how unhealthy biscuits are. He sorta brags about all the biscuits he's eaten in a lifetime of eating (!), then innocently asks, barely considering the possible repercussions of the question as it tumbles out of his mouth: "About how many calories are in a biscuit?" When the nutritionist replies "550 calories each," he about falls out of his chair with incredulity. "What? 550? EACH?" "Yes, each." "Oh my goodness," he whispers, almost to himself, the notion of downing 6,600 calories every Sunday morning for the better part of 18 years finally settling over him like one of his many trademark black muumuus. It's a delicate scene, an uproarious scene, a haunting scene—and tailor-made for how I will remember the man.