Official Selection: Sundance
As an artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe created works that were stunning in their power. He created numerous iconographic images; from the portrait of his youthful muse and collaborator Patti Smith, which appears on the cover of Horses, through to meticulously crafted photographs of flowers, and controversial depictions of the gay S&M underground that caused outrage amongst the religious right of the eighties.
What these works shared was the artist’s complete control of the photographic image: meticulously lit, perfectly framed, and, without fail, evocative in their sculptural beauty.
In Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, directors Bailey and Barbato (whose previous collaborations include directing Inside Deep Throat and Party Monster and producing Ru-Paul’s Drag Race) tell the photographer’s story through interviews with family, friends, and partners, archive footage and the photographs themselves.
The film follows the groundbreaking photographer’s life, from his childhood in Queens to two major retrospectives in Los Angeles, held years after his death, creating a cinematic portrait of one of the 20th centuries’ most important artists.