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Mapplethorpe: Director’s Cut (2021) movie review

I can’t really dispute this, or anything else in the review, as it is a subjective response to a film that tells the life of Robert Mapplethorpe in a way that is ordinary in some ways and unusual in some ways. other. I agree that, in terms of material selection and arrangement, this is a pretty classic biopic: we see Robert “Bob” Mapplethorpe leave the Pratt Institute and start doing street art in New York City. in the early 1970s, and become friends with singer-songwriter Patti Smith (Marianne Rendón). He struggles with his ill-disguised queerness, then accesses it through his increasingly daring and explicit photography. If you know its story, you know where things are going, and there will probably be times when you think, “I might appreciate it more if this was a documentary.”

What sets the film apart is the way it shows artists in relation to each other and to their work. It’s rare to see a movie about creative people that accurately captures how they’ll measure up in the first meeting, and then, once they determine that the other person is serious, immediately move on to sharing the influences. and granular discussion. theory and technique. Discussions of creativity merge into discussions of more mundane personal matters.

There is a lovely moment when Bob, who has had sex with men in exchange for money to fund his art, has a brief conversation with Patti, who just broke up with him as a lover but quickly returned. as a friend. He turns the conversation on whether Patti is ever going to write a song people can dance to. She says it’s not really her thing: she’s not pretentious, she just tells the truth. This type of exchange is at the heart of the friendships of working artists. They can say that sort of thing to each other and be sure that neither is judging the other: they are just talking shop.

There is also something about the tone of Smith’s performance that felt very real to me, to the point of deglamouring her. There are times when we see him alone in his bedroom, and even though the moment is pure extrapolation / improvisation by the filmmaker and actor, we think that’s how someone like him would behave. He dances in a bathrobe, takes the robe off, hangs it in a closet and takes a picture of it (which results in one of his most famous photos), and we see him naked in the room with his mushy ass centered frame , take pictures with the serene concentration of a man who has forgotten that there is something other than his art.

Now available on Hulu, Amazon, and various digital platforms.

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