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Arakimentari Review

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Nobuyoshi Araki is one of Japan’s leading still photographers: his work ranges from his wife’s terminal illness and their cat through clouds, flowers and celebrities to an enormous amount of porno, featuring schoolgirls in bondage or ‘erotic housewives’.

★★★★★

Araki’s a character who relishes his own sleazy image, claiming all art must focus on the vagina, but documentarian Travis Klose gets beyond the act, and backs up the claims of Araki’s admirers that he venerates women in general and his late wife in particular.

Among the talking heads are colleagues, models and celebs (Beat Takeshi, Björk), and Klose – who signs the film with a snippet of him attempting karaoke – presents imaginatively-scored montages of different strains of Araki’s work that show he’s not just about tying up girls in artfully-gaping kimonos.

Limited appeal, by definition – but a rare documentary which will genuinely make you change your mind about its subject.

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