Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

Germany | 2020 | 100 min. | Gero von Boehm

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Women were clearly at the core of legendary photographer Helmut Newton's work, from Catherine Deneuve to Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling to Isabella Rossellini. 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.

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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.

"A gossipy portrait of a charmingly naughty boy whose genius is perhaps best appreciated on a second viewing with the sound off and the eyes wide open."--Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

"An engaging and surprisingly playful documentary about the man who was arguably the most transgressive photographer to emerge from the 1960s and '70s."--Owen Gleiberman, Variety

  • Director: Gero von Boehm
  • Principal Cast: Grace Jones, Sylvia Gobbel, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Wintour, Nadja Auermann, Phyllis Posnick, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Faithfull, Claudia Schiffer, Hanna Schygulla, Carla Sozzani, Arja Toyryla, June Newton
  • Country: Germany
  • Year: 2020
  • Running Time: 100 min.
  • Producer: Felix von Boehm
  • Screenplay: Gero von Boehm
  • Cinematographers: Sven Jakob-Engelmann
  • Editors: Tom Weichenhain
  • Language: English, French, German