By wisely concentrating on the work and the prolific nature of the artist, Bailey and Barbato's portrait of Robert Mapplethorpe overcomes the sensationalism the subject could have succumbed to. The interviewees are well chosen but its the wealth of the artists creations that make this something special.
Nothing too special, but I enjoyed this a lot. But then, Standard Doc Format isn't inherently limiting for veterans like Bailey & Barbato. Also doesn't hurt that it's two hours of dishing and dick picks... They choose their subjects well! Still - personal, well-made, honest, funny, engaging, thoughtful. Mapplethorpe in context. It's pretty much exactly what I'd hoped for. Easy 3.5
An uncompromising artist, and a true inspiration. For any fan, seeing his singular works projected in large-format on the screen is a rare treat in itself, and worth the price of entry on that basis alone. Thankfully, the surrounding narrative does justice to the icon, allowing the viewer the briefest glimpse into the artistic inclinations behind some of the 20th century's most provactive and indelible imagery.
Giggling at the people who found the images too graphic––for me, Mapplethorpe's phalluses become indistinguishable from his florals (and vice versa) after awhile. Nice use of archival resources given the circumstances (many of Mapplethorpe's contemporaries also died from AIDS). Fran Lebowitz: still alive & kicking. Always the A-roll talking head, always offering the last word on the downtown stars of yesteryear.
Some pictures were pretty graphic but the documentary was interesting, tracing back Mapplethorpe from childhood to his death. It was good to see the evolution of his work and how far he went to develop and promote his work. Some pictures in the film are rarely or never usually shown and they gathered interviews from family members, friends and lovers so it gives you a good insight into his work, life and personality.