This follows the life and work of the impish, enthusiastic, ever-so-slightly-crazed figure of Nobuyoshi Araki, Japan’s most notorious and prolific photographer and self-styled inheritor of the erotic tradition of artists Utamaro and Hokusai. ‘I love my pink!,’ cries one of his models, offering her vulva for international inspection. Many of his disrobed beauties seem to believe that Araki is not only breaking Japan’s sexual taboos and cultural prudery but also facilitating their own personal liberation, even as they are trussed-up, with open kimono, hanging from the rafters. Björk praises Araki’s photobook documenting his wife, Yoko (1967-1977) as a work of love – but poor Yoko looks quite miserable to me. Slightly more critical voices come from critic Koutaro Iizawa, filmmaker Takeshi Kitano and philosopher Daido Moriyama, but the main effect is hagiographic. Klose follows the man working in the studio and has the crew accompany Araki to his favoured Shinjuku nightclubs. He also offers a wealth of back catalogue, including a fast edit, flashcarding the snaps to a rap beat – which offers enough eyefuls of labia majora to last most of us a lifetime.
Friday August 5 2005