photo caption: Alexander McQueen, London 2007 © Anton Corbijn

Klaartje Quirijns’ insightful feature-length profile of Anton Corbijn offers an exploration into the pain of creation while also being a thoughtful examination of one of pop culture’s most iconic photographers and, more recently, film directors.

The taciturn Dutch subject, best known for immortalising artists such as Ian Curtis, Iggy Pop and U2, gives filmmaker Quirijns the opportunity to shine a spotlight on to the darkest corners of his intensely private life.

The narrative alternates between Corbijn’s personal and professional personas, highlighting the perpetual loneliness of man who is adored by many. Corbijn freely discusses his past while retracing the footsteps of his youth. However, family members raise concerns about his present schedule, declaring that he is clearly happiest when at work.

Corbijn notes that both the films he has directed are about isolation and contain protagonists with a lonely soul. Although he has been known to be somewhat reclusive, he doesn’t see too much autobiography in those films. His comments lead Quirijns to adopt a voyeuristic approach to capturing Corbijn’s private life as she explores themes of solitude and seclusion.

However, for all the small revelations, Corbijn is continually in control of each conversation, conducting each discussion like one of his shoots. He exposes little emotion and always keeps Quirijns at a safe distance.

Corbijn is clearly a man deeply immersed in his passions: photography, filmmaking and music. However, behind the focused lens, there is clearly pain and isolation. What could have been a fascinating study of an exceptional and mysterious individual is little more than a static Polaroid with layers still to be fully developed.

review by Russell Ford in Little White Lies

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