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SU 19 Festival Film | Mapplethorpe (MN Premier)

  • Trylon Cinema 2820 East 33rd Street Minneapolis, MN, 55406 United States (map)

Screening date: Fri. November 16, 2018
Time: 9:30 PM
Venue: Trylon Cinema
Cost: $12 in advance / $14 at the door
Category: MN Premier
Run Time/Year/Country: 94 min, 2018, USA
Director: Ondi Timoner

Sponsored by Twin Cities Gay Scene


No photographer of the twentieth century was as renowned for his ability to capture such great beauty and court such great controversy as Robert Mapplethorpe. Though he died nearly thirty years ago, Mapplethorpe’s name remains synonymous today with boundary-pushing and bold artistic contrasts, owing to both his gorgeous black-and-white prints of voluptuous flowers and his stunning, provocative nude studies of the BDSM subculture.

Mapplethorpe takes a chronological look at the influences and practices that captured male homoerotic desire so poignantly in the face of the devastating toll of the AIDS crisis and does not shy away from the photographer’s less-than-seemly side particularly his fetishization of black bodies, as is bluntly depicted via his affair with model Milton Moore, the subject of Mapplethorpe’s infamous Man in Polyester Suit. The film also explores the complicated relationship between Mapplethorpe and his lesser-known younger brother, the photographer Edward Mapplethorpe (also known as Edward Maxey).

The first-ever biopic of the artist, Mapplethorpe stars a revelatory Matt Smith ("Doctor Who," "The Crown") in the title role, which dramatizes the artist’s meteoric journey, from the beginning of his friendship with punk poet laureate Patti Smith to his success as a provocateur and then to his ultimate struggle with AIDS. Mapplethorpe features the photographer’s original art and was made with the support of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, which granted director Timoner full access to archival material and early works. Timoner, a Sound Unseen alumni, is a two-time recipient of Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize for documentaries ("DiG!" "We Live in Public"), and she brings the nuance and vitality of her nonfiction work into her narrative debut.