“I’ve tried to use traditional skills to touch people, to move their minds and souls, to let them feel that they are really beautiful, rare and precious.” – Guo Pei


Pietra Brettkelly
New Zealand, China | 2018 | 93 min
Benelux Premiere

Recognition from Paris’s Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is considered the apex of the fashion industry, and Chinese designer Guo Pei is determined to reach it.
With a remarkable eye for detail and exquisite blending of visual art forms, veteran documentarian Pietra Brettkelly (A Flickering Truth, The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins) captures Guo’s drive, artistry, meticulousness, and acumen, from the designer’s emergence on the international scene—when Rihanna wore her hand-embroidered canary yellow gown to the Met Gala in 2015.

That dress won Guo Pei international attention. It was sweet vindication for the Chinese couturier, who’d grown up in the Cultural Revolution when Mao suits were the only acceptable fashions, embroidery was ‘feudal’, and her beloved grandmother told her to forget about yellow dresses. Nevertheless, Guo thrives amid these challenges, establishing herself as a singularly capable and uncompromising warrior for her art.

With loving fidelity for Guo’s work, Brettkelly depicts both the process and the fashion itself, resulting in a timely examination of what it takes for an outsider to earn acclaim from one of the West’s most redoubtable institutions.

“Impressive … An intimate, involving portrait of Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Cracking the Frame
Established in 2011, Cracking the Frame is a monthly program featuring an international selection of theatrically unreleased, critically acclaimed documentary portraits of established contemporary artists, photographers, filmmakers and global thinkers.


“It forces viewers to take long looks at his most controversial imagery, proving that he still has the power to provoke, seduce and enrage.” ★★★★ The Guardian

mapplethorpe large

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato | USA | 2016 | 108 min

“Look at the pictures,” said Senator Jesse Helms, denouncing the controversial art of Robert Mapplethorpe, whose photographs pushed boundaries with frank depictions of nudity, sexuality and fetishism.
MAPPLETHORPE: LOOK AT THE PICTURES is the first definitive portrait of the controversial American artist Robert Mapplethorpe, from his early beginnings in New York City to his meteoric rise in the art world and untimely death in 1989. With unprecedented access to The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the documentary features never-before-seen photographs and footage of the elusive artist. Mapplethorpe himself is a strong presence, telling his story in his own words through recently rediscovered audio recordings, with complete honesty and often shocking candor.
This is the unique portrait of an artist who turned photography into contemporary fine art. Acclaimed directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (“Inside Deep Throat”; “Party Monster”; “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”) explore the blurred lines between Mapplethorpe’s personal and professional lives. An unflinching, unprecedented look at Mapplethorpe most provocative work and the one thing more outrageous than Robert Mapplethorpe’s art, his own life.

 “A remarkable achievement” ★★★★ The Times
“A candid, often shocking documentary portrait of a great photographer” ★★★★ Time Out
 “A thoughtful, compelling documentary.” ★★★★ The Financial Times
 “Beautiful and clear-eyed documentary” ★★★★ BBC

This special screening will take on Wednesday 22 March 19:30h at Rialto Amsterdam with an introduction by Rob Jurka, founder of Galerie Jurka. Opened in Amsterdam in 1970, Galerie Jurka was the first art gallery in Europe to show photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe and to publish a catalogue dedicated to his work. More screenings will follow in other Dutch cities in April. 

Cracking the Frame

A monthly program featuring an international selection of theatrically unreleased, critically acclaimed arts documentaries.
Cracking the Frame focuses on the creative intersection between art and film through thought-provoking cinematic portraits of the life and work of established contemporary artists, photographers, filmmakers and global thinkers.


On Tuesday 17 April I will be presenting the Amsterdam premiere of the award-winning documentary on fashion photographer Bill Cunningham at Rialto in Amsterdam.

The screening is part of the monthly artist film series ‘Cracking the Frame‘ that I’m currently programming for Rialto. Beautiful art related documentaries to be enjoyed in a laid-back atmosphere on the third Tuesday of each month.

Tuesday 17 April, 19.30h


Richard Press – US – 2010

For decades, New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham has been chronicling downtown eccentrics, fashion cat walks and high society charity soirees for the Times style section in his columns “On the Street” and “Evening Hours.”

Now over 80, this shy man armed with his photo cameras and a bicycle has become a trusted columnist and a familiar face for many New Yorkers, but few are aware of how influential his photographs have been in documenting and helping defying forty years of New York fashion, art and culture.

Carefully collected over the years, Cunningham’s enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair.

Richard Press’ film is an inspiring and insightful portrait of a man genuinely in love with fashion and photography. A personal and joyful film focused on the work and life of a dedicated artist, his own humanity and the untamed passion for the subject of his gaze.


Awarded as ‘Best Documentary’ by the Boston Society of Film Critics.

Directors Guild of America’s Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary 2012 nomination.

Winner of the Best Documentary Audience Award at Sydney Film Festival 2011.


“Deeply moving, visually stunning.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“This is a fascinating portrait of a unique character who has built his own world out the worlds of others. Quite unlike poseur photographers, he dresses, eats sleeps and talks simply; he gets around on a push bike. And he smiles a lot. […] A rare and special film that should be savoured.” – Urban Cinephiles




Started in November 2011, this monthly program features an international selection of critically acclaimed art related documentaries and artists’ films.

CRACKING THE FRAME focuses on the creative intersection between art and film through cinematic portraits of the life and work of established contemporary artists, filmmakers, writers and global thinkers.

Each film is theatrically unreleased in The Netherlands and will be screened in English or with English subtitles.

Every third Tuesday of the month at Rialto Amsterdam.