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Arakimentari

Director:  Travis Klose
Year Released:  2004
Rating:  3.0

Provocative overview of the life and works of famous/infamous Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki and his controversial images of women in various states of undress and/or in bondage. The better critiques I read about this documentary say something to the extent that Araki's detractors are nowhere to be found (and he has many), but I'd like to counter that Klose does try to include the full spectrum of the artist's work in this, including the photographs of his wife when they were newlyweds, the images of her death, some stunning super close-ups of faces and his gorgeous shots of the sky and flowers - this may not please some discerning viewers, but I prefer it to having to listen to virulent feminist scholars ranting about the sanctity of womanhood, and at least it shows that the man can do more than tweak nipples or use his fingers to 'fluff' patches of pubic hair. Alas, Araki - like Ray Johnson in How to Draw a Bunny - ultimately eludes director Klose (Araki admits that he 'buries' the pain, and whenever he feels sad he takes a picture - beneath the happy-go-lucky persona could be a world of sadness), but I found the man to be infectious and pleasantly eclectic (impressions will vary per person).

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