Frames from the Edge (1989) Movie Script

I find that one can immediately
recognize a photo by Newton.
In my opinion,
that's where his genius lies.
Every great photographer's work
is distinguishable
among thousands
of other people's work.
Avedon's or Bourdin's work
is also highly distinct.
But for me, Helmut's work
is the most easily recognizable
when I look
through a stack of pictures.
Unless it is a very good copy,
which is extremely rare,
there are no good imitations
of Helmut's work.
Whatever he does is good,
because he did it.
Whoever tries to copy him
lacks the essence of his work.
A black and white picture
by Newton,
if I may compare it
to something,
has the quality
of a Matisse drawing.
He doesn't try to take
the place of the camera.
When you look
at his pictures,
especially the ones that
aren't staged or portraits,
he takes
the place of someone
who is observing
the scene as it happens.
I find that
to be very rare
in so called
sophisticated photography.
One might think
that there is an ideal
perspective for a face or a body
but his angle is always
slightly different.
He has
the eye of a voyeur
being an excellent observer
at the same time.
I have an older brother,
he is ten years older than I am,
and he always
wanted to be a farmer.
I always wanted to be
a reporter, since I was little,
with lots of different cameras
dangling around my neck,
wearing a Burberry coat
with a turned up collar,
and a big hat with
my Press Pass attached to it.
While other children wanted
to become train conductors,
I wanted to be
this crazy reporter.
I never really
have difficulties
in finding the right location
to shoot.
I'm like the carrier pigeon,
I follow my instinct,
and go where
I feel it's right.
Some people depict me like
a dog following a trail
or trying to find
the right spot to pee.
He keeps going
around in circles,
until suddenly he finds
the right place to pee,
or to photograph,
in my case.
And that's
how I do it.
This is my Berlin notebook.
I have many of them because
I have a very bad memory.
Here, for example,
is what's on the first page.
it's not only Berlin.
Rosemary, no hand.
Telephone number.
This girl, I was told,
was very beautiful,
but had only one hand.
I never saw her.
Here, a hotel in Paris
with a wonderful alcove
and old iron beds,
very pretty.
Too old, though, I 'm not really
into these things anymore.
Then, back to Berlin.
The word schlagsahne,
whipped cream.
A very important word for me,
whipped cream.
Von Stroheim, Von Stroheim,
don't know why he is here.
Hey, what's this?
Oh, and this
is very funny.
It is a list with the names
of whorehouses in Berlin.
Some journalist
gave it to me.
Very important,
very practical.
A little lower.
But watch the expression.
Too much
hair everywhere.
Stay exactly like that.
Black light that we used,
for example,
in the pictures
we made in the past four days,
is very typical for Berlin.
It almost looks like
a picture treated with acid.
The sunlight
doesn't suit Berlin.
When I see the black lakes,
the black forests,
and those
heavy black clouds
that hang over the lakes
in summer, it fascinates me.
The light
is very penetrating.
And there is a lot of it,
it isn't dark,
it is a very
special quality of light.
Swimming pools, like
many other things in my work,
reflect my memories.
My photos, especially
in the past twenty years,
are mostly based on memories.
I photographed many women
who were excellent
swimmers or divers.
It fascinates me, a person,
a woman of course,
it could also be a man,
but for me it has to be a woman,
floating through the air
like a circus artist
hanging from a trapeze.
They flow or they fly,
you can only do that
over water or on a trapeze.
My parents used to
spend all their summer holidays
in spas, in big, elegant hotels.
Those days, I guess, that was
the fashionable thing to do.
So I spent a lot of time in
these huge, beautiful hotels.
They still have
a mysterious charm to me.
In a hotel you're a stranger,
it's not your home.
You sleep in a bed in which
many have slept before you,
and every day, week, month,
someone else stared
at the same walls.
I've always found that
to be very exciting,
actually somewhat erotic.
- You coming to dinner with us ?
- Yes, sure.
Listen, I'm worried
about the girl.
A broad with big tits
and everything.
Got something for me?
Oh, sure.
Don't worry, it's all set.
- What's your name, please?
- Michaela.
Thank you for coming,
it's very nice of you.
How tall are you?
I am one meter seventy four.
I'm making landscape
photography in Berlin.
I was born and raised here.
I'm very much into that.
The forests,
the lakes and so on.
How do you look
in a bikini?
Well, um, it's a little
hard to describe.
Do you have big breasts
or not?
I do!
Are they hot?
Quite hot.
Good, how are the legs?
Not bad!
Well, maybe I'm imagining that
there's a Berlin prototype that
I'd recognize on the street.
A tall, young girl, great body,
and something
in the color of her skin.
You know, when their coloring
is slightly bluish,
so white you can see the veins
shine through the skin.
That's probably because the sun
doesn't shine very much here.
Beautiful legs,
beautiful legs!
How much do you measure
around the chest?
Could you take
your shirt off, please?
You didn't recognize
that picture?
Which one?
Oh, yes!
Of course,
I took that picture.
That's funny.
What are you wearing
under that?
A bra.
Would you mind to...?
You can say no.
If you mind that's too bad.
No, I don't really mind.
Are you sure?
Yes, but it depends,
what are these pictures for?
It's fashion pictures.
All right, but I don't
want to be naked.
Only the torso.
This is for an ad campaign!
For billboards.
I really can't,
I would love to,
but I really
can't show nudity.
All right, then.
All right?
So why don't you take
that off now?
No problem,
if you don't want to.
I think we should
forget about it.
Very good,
thank you.
Goodbye, thanks.
I thought that such
an icon of photography
would be a snob
and everything.
But no,
he was very friendly.
Last year
I was so surprised.
When we were having lunch,
he was talking a lot.
It was very interesting
to listen to him,
there are not many men
with such experience.
So I listened
to him talking.
He said something funny.
A girl was hanging off
a helicopter
and he threw pieces
of red meat into the sea.
So, there were
all these sharks around her,
and he,
he was shooting pictures.
That makes me think of
the picture with the champagne.
You know, the champagne
thrown in the face.
Sometimes he does
stuff like that.
That's not very nice.
No, but there's not many
photographers who would do that.
Girls who want
to work with him know
that they will have to do
that kind of thing.
We are paid for doing this.
Sometimes I have to wear
shoe size 38,
when my real size
is 42, and I have to
run down the street
wearing a 38.
That's even worse!
Because it really hurts.
There is a pretty girl
with a denim jacket.
Would you describe yourself more
as a photographer or an artist?
I repeat what I always say
and what I said yesterday,
"There are two dirty words
in photography.
One is art,
and the other is good taste."
Are your works for sale?
And if yes, for how much?
Not through museums.
Museums are not the kind
of institutions
that sell photographs.
Of course
they are for sale.
For me,
everything is for sale.
It's just a question
of the price !
But... I do this
for a living.
I work because I love it and
because I love to make money.
Could you tell us
an approximate price?
A picture that is
thirty by forty centimeters
is about $1,000, approximately,
but I 'm not quite sure.
Yes, but many imitations are
circulating, well, you know.
I mean copies.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Helmut Newton is one of
the leading and most popular
fashion photographers
of our times.
His work goes beyond
fashion photography.
He very much influenced,
without any doubt,
the image of the world
as we know it today...
It's very tough.
Forgive me,
it's not always easy.
You know, when you make
a picture with Helmut,
you become a Newton,
that's the secret.
You become a graphic object,
and that's why I always
come back to this comparison
to a Matisse drawing.
He looks for
a certain shape,
and I believe you can only work
with him if you accept that.
Personally, when I make pictures
with a great photographer,
I 'd like the picture to be
typical for the photographer.
I don't care what it looks like,
good, cute, not cute,
ugly, flat, tired,
that's not what I focus on.
I focus on the personality
of the photographer
behind that picture.
You know, often fashion
photographers have
the complex of wanting to be
great portrait photographers.
They want to be great
but in different ways.
For me,
it all goes together.
Even Helmut's portraits reflect
the fashion of the time
which reflects
the spirit of the time as well.
That's why, for me,
Helmut is a great photographer.
I won't try to fit him into
a category, that would be silly.
I can't stand photographers
who come with huge staffs
and a ton of assistants.
He usually comes alone
or with one assistant,
and a small camera or two,
and everything happens
in a few seconds.
That makes it even more
difficult to take pictures
with others for ten hours
and have a mediocre out come.
I 'm thinking
of Madame Curie.
She did her thing
in her own kitchen
before working
in real laboratories.
With Helmut,
it's a little bit like that.
It's so,
maybe not homemade,
but physical,
his way of working.
I think that
the spontaneity of his images
which at the same time seem
so composed and sophisticated,
makes his work so different
from other photographers.
I recognize his style before
I even recognize the picture.
It has something violent,
always a little shocking,
and at the same time, baroque.
For me, it's
something very evident
and very secretive
at the same time.
There's one
that I like particularly,
I can't even really
tell you why.
There is the picture,
there is me in it,
and in the background
there's another Newton photo,
so there is a picture
in a picture
that's like
the mirror in the mirror.
I love that the picture
is complicated.
He took it at my place.
I think he's
the only photographer
that I would have ever
let come into my house
because I think the intimacy
of someone's home
is something
very important.
He has the right
to do that.
Yes, that's from
the same shooting.
Oh, yes!
That's a picture
that we stole.
When I say we stole it,
I mean that it was done
at the last minute
and it was done very quickly.
It was for the
New York Times Magazine,
for Yves Saint Laurent's
latest collection.
This one he made
very quickly in my car.
One has to know me well
to be able to take
a picture like this
in twenty minutes.
I love the aspect
of skin, clothes
and at the same time
this deep black that conceals
what needs to be concealed.
In Newton's pictures ,
the black is always
where it's supposed to be.
We always look for
an answer in a picture.
We hope that something
in the picture will give us
an answer to something or answer
the question you asked .
And Helmut's photos
always expose something
but remain mysterious
at the same time.
You always want to know more,
but they answer
your question in part.
That's why women
love them so much.
All our friends ask us what
we do all day in Monte Carlo.
We both answer that
the day is never long enough.
I get up at eight o'clock,
have breakfast on the terrace
in the summer, that is.
Then I read my mail
and make calls.
At noon we go down to
the hotel beach to swim,
have lunch there, and stay at
the beach until four o'clock.
I love the light here.
I'm not very comfortable with
in artificial light.
On the contrary,
I love to shoot in daylight.
Here, I have
the most wonderful light.
I can use the ocean
as a background
but there's so many different
backgrounds here.
I have a choice.
I am now 67 years old.
You know, I cannot live
in a big city anymore,
not in New York,
or in Paris.
That's why
I go back and forth
between Monte Carlo
and Los Angeles.
Hollywood is just like here,
only a little bigger.
The palm trees in Hollywood
are taller,
and there's more people,
but otherwise the spirit
is very much the same.
Open the windows.
The smell in here
makes me sick.
Open the windows, the smell
in here makes me sick.
I don't like to carry
too many cameras on me.
I'm not, as they say,
a professional
who loves hardware.
The less I carry,
the better it is for me.
It's all in here,
in the head, in the eye.
The lenses I use
are usually normal lenses,
in 85 - 90 percent
of the cases.
I work faster and
more efficiently like that.
I'm a professional voyeur.
But I'm not really interested in
the people that I photograph.
The girls, their private lives,
their character,
have no importance for me.
I am interested in
what is on the outside,
what I see,
what my camera sees.
People often tell me,
"You don't photograph the soul."
I say,
"What does that mean?"
I photograph a body,
a face.
I am interested in the face,
breasts, the legs,
and you can see that
in my pictures.
And you can also see,
I hope, a little more.
But the soul,
that I don't understand.