Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks - Movies About Artists

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Join in the fun by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them!

And now, back to your regularly scheduled TMP programming: MOVIES!

This week, we must pick movies about artists, specifically painters. I've tried to pick three movies as different from each other as possible for this, so... ENJOY!

The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting (Raúl Ruiz, 1978) Look, I could describe the "plot" of this to you, but that really would kind of be beside the point. It's ostensibly "about" an art collector who six of seven canvasses of a legendary 19th century French painter who creates extremely elaborate tableaux vivants of each of the paintings he does have in order to try and figure out what the fourth in the series (stolen long ago) might have been. But really, it's about art itself, how we create it, experience it, critique it, and look at it. It's a viewing experience completely unlike any other I've ever had, and yes you may find it unbearably pretentious, but I don't care.

Frida (Julie Taymor, 2002) A bit of a mess, but then, could a film about the great, provocative Mexican painter Frida Kahlo be anything but? At least Julie Taymor's biopic takes risks most films would never dream of in both form and function. And Hayek, who nurtured this project from conception to completion, is great fun to watch.

Tim's Vermeer (Teller, 2014) Sometimes, life gifts you with a perfect story: Penn Jillette, one-half of the famous magician duo Penn & Teller, had a friend named Tim who was obsessed with the paintings of Johannes Vermeer, who many consider the greatest painter that ever lived. Specifically, Tim is obsessed with how Vermeer captured light so perfectly. So obsessed, that he builds a device that allows him to paint a perfect recreation of whatever is in front of him, like he believed Vermeer used. And Penn & Teller filmed it. It's an absolutely fascinating story, and watching it will make you view painting in a whole new light.

BONUS TV PICK
 "Vincent And The Doctor" (Doctor Who, 2010, S5E10) I didn't pick the long-running BBC program Doctor Who for our sci-fi TV edition of TMP last week, but I had to mention this episode this week, because it's one of my favorites. Our intrepid time-traveling Galifreyan and his spunky companion Amy Pond end up visiting Vincent Van Gogh, whose inner demons have been made thrillingly external as a scary black beastie. He is depressed because he is going through all these awful things and no one cares about his art, into which he pours his heart and soul. So in the end, just this once, the Doctor allows the person he helps to see his future, and this scene happens, and I turn into a puddle of tears. EVERY. TIME. Just beautiful.

17 comments:

  1. Ok the first film is like visual art onto itself and is actually doing that thing that became all the rage lately to film oneself as A mannequin:) I want to see Frida and Vermeer. I love Vermeer and am lucky to have seen some of his works which are simply divine.

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    1. Lucky you indeed! I've never seen a Vermeer in person. :(

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  2. I haven't seen any of these, though I think I've seen parts of Frida at least. Tim's Vermeer sounds like something I'd like. I'll have to check that one out.

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    1. Tim's Vermeer is really a great doc.

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  3. Frida is such a magical movie, one of the best uses of cinematography I've ever seen!

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    1. They really do some great stuff in Frida. I just wish it was a bit more cohesive. Julie Taymor is such a visionary.

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  4. I really enjoyed Frida (especially the visuals) but the use of the English language instead of Spanish really bothered me.

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    1. Yeah, they could have made it in Spanish without sacrificing anything.

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  5. I've only seen, but Saturday sums it up best. It's magical. Love that movie and Hayek in it.

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    1. Wow, I'm shocked at all the love Frida is getting today! Not that it's not good, but... WOW.

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  6. I've only seen Frida which I liked but didn't love. Tim's Vermeer sounds very intriguing, the first rather odd. I've never seen a single episode of Dr. Who.

    I had a hard time with this and even the three I came up with I don't adore, I don't know if I have a film about a painter that I love absolutely unless it's Paul Newman's segment of What a Way to Go!

    The Naked Maja (1958)-Tale of the renowned painter Francisco Goya (Anthony Franciosa) and his passionate affair with the Duchess of Alba (Ava Gardner) , purportedly the model for the title painting. Set against Spain’s war with France and the Inquisition, though shot in Italy, the film is a visual treat with a good performance by Gardner but missing a certain spark, perhaps due to the fact that the stars detested each other behind the scenes.

    Lust for Life (1956)-Biography of Vincent Van Gogh with an intense, driven performance by near lookalike Kirk Douglas as the tortured artist. Since he wasn’t acknowledged until after his death the film is a relentlessly grim look at the cost and weight of unrecognized genius. Overlong but loaded with works by the master.

    The Moon and Sixpence (1942)-Inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin and based on the Somerset Maugham novel, the film tells the story of Charles Strickland (George Sanders) who throws his staid life as a married stockbroker away to run away to the South Seas to paint with nary a thought to the consequences. Well-acted with a superior cast but the lead character is an almost completely despicable person so it’s difficult to care too much for his story or fate.

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    1. I found The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting to be utterly beguiling, but it's definitely not for everyone. Doctor Who is a massive undertaking if you watch the whole thing, but you absolutely don't have to, especially if you know the basics (time-traveling alien and human companion journey through time and space, always ending up in life-threatening situations). This one in particular is a good "stand-alone" episode.

      The only one of yours I've even heard of is Lust For Life, and what you say about it matches with what I've heard - overlong, relentlessly grim, but not bad.

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  7. Haven't watched any of this, but I noticed that Frida is an Oscar darling. I should at least dedicate some time to watch it soon.

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    1. I don't know if Frida was an Oscar DARLING, but the few noms it did get were very well-deserved.

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  8. Interesting picks. I haven't seen any of them, however, Frida has been picked a lot. I have seen that Doctor Who episode but I gone off the show massively...

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    1. Yeah, Frida was picked a lot this week. Who'da thunk?!?

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  9. The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting sounds interesting as does Tim's Vermeer. I'm not a Doctor Who at all but that clip with Van Gogh was brilliant, if only that really happened.

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