Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful Review – Extraordinary Retrospective of A Master

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Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful, from Kino Lorber, presents the life and times of one of the great masters of photography, along with the women who inspired him and those who were inspired by him.

Directed by Gero von Boehm, Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful gathers the world's most influential and beautiful women, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Wintour, Marianne Faithfull, Hanna Schygulla, Nadja Auermann, and Newton's wife June, also known as photographer Alice Springs to discuss the work, the time, and the icon.


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The documentary opens with a collage of photographs, many famous faces and iconic images settling into a voice over from Newton describing his work as he photographed, high over Sunset Boulevard, a nude female, which became his signature style.

Newton, throughout the documentary brings the viewer along with him as he prepares for photo shoots, explains his fascination with the female form, his life, and childhood, which was a miraculous escape from Nazi, Germany, to the Far East and finally to Australia where he met his wife, June.

Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful, in the age of high glamour, supermodels, an edgy, push the boundaries, Newton focused on sexuality and sensualizing the female form, which he mastered.

The documentary is filled with edgy, high-profile work, used by the world's ultra-exclusive luxury brands, who often questioned Newton's decisions to create sensuality, some of which focused on the use of poultry, both raw and rotisserie. A virtuoso, his creative brilliance only continued to further his brand and trend setting expression.


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The documentary returns to the place and year of each of the featured models and actresses whom he asked to pose and posed the question to them of their feelings. Each explained a feeling of transformation, others explained how Newton brought out the energy that translated into the image.

Hearing first-hand from his subjects, the question which is quite possible the singular topic that may be derived from the documentary is reduced to sexuality and exploitation or artistic expression? Did he empower his subjects or treat them as sexual objects?

Those photographed talked of empowerment, of freedom, never of a sleazy or lecherous type of work environment. Beauty, art, is as it has always been, in the eye of the beholder. Newton himself explains individuals project upon a photograph of nudity, their own beliefs, or feelings.


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The documentary continues through a life of photographs, of placing the same artistic expression upon himself that he asked of others, of finding a career early on and developing the talent, of opportunities, change and a life. Newton died of an unexplained car accident in 2004.

Helmut Newton made a name for himself exploring the female form, and his cult status continues long after his tragic death in a Los Angeles car crash in 2004.

Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful Review takes the viewer around the globe, from Singapore to Australia to Paris to Los Angeles, as he travels to exotic locals with beautiful people and also to a time not so beautiful where a budding genius found his art and his escape. We return to Weimar Germany to understand and see the visual characteristic of his work. 

This documentary paints a portrait of a controversial genius and captures Newton's legacy and seeks to answer questions about the themes at the core of his life's work – creating provocative and subversive images of women.


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Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful Review also features Newton's own home movies, archival footage, of course, countless Newton's own photographs. 

Helmut Newton: The Bad and The Beautiful Review, extraordinary, entertaining, a must see! Available on VOD.

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