★★★½ "Likeable, mischievous, often very funny and well-assembled. Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful is worth seeking out" (Stuff).
One of the great masters of photography, 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.
Newton worked around the globe, from Singapore to Australia to Paris to Los Angeles, but Weimar Germany was the visual hallmark of his work. Newton's unique and striking way of depicting women has always posed the question: did he empower his subjects or treat them as sexual objects? Through candid interviews with Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Wintour, Claudia Schiffer, Marianne Faithfull, Hanna Schygulla, Nadja Auermann, and Newton's wife June (a.k.a. photographer Alice Springs), this documentary captures his legacy and seeks to answer questions about the themes at the core of his life's work - creating provocative and subversive images of women.
The film also features Newton's own home movies, archival footage (including a pointed exchange with Susan Sontag) and, of course, scores of iconic Newton photographs. The result: a wildly entertaining portrait of a controversial genius.
"Refreshingly nuanced" - The Hollywood Reporter
"Engaging, lively and playful" - Variety
"A fascinating film" - The Guardian