Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures

Film, Documentaries
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Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures

A candid, often shocking documentary portrait of the great photographer Robert Mapplethorpe

The thing you learn from this in-depth doc about New York photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is how much of a trail he blazed. In the 1970s and ’80s, politicians and people who live to be morally outraged condemned his gay S&M photography as ugly and obscene. Mapplethorpe was defiant, refusing to hide a thing.

We see many of his photographs here (including the notoriously explicit X Portfolio) for what they are: as beautiful and breathtaking as classic sculpture – and no more explicit than images shared on Grindr these days. Mapplethorpe, who died from Aids-related complications in 1989, aged 42, was no tortured artist. Ambitious and self-absorbed, he chased fame and money. As one friend puts it: ‘He wanted to be a legend.’ The filmmakers interview his lovers, family and collaborators. The only person missing is Patti Smith, his soulmate, one-time lover and lifelong friend.

By: Cath Clarke

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Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday April 22 2016
Duration: 108 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Screenwriter: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
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