Painters and their movie biopics.

December 22, 2005

After seeing Ed Harris’s, Pollock, I began looking for movies similar to it. I’ve found so far:

Camille Claudel – A French “powerhouse” movie with Isabelle Adjani and Gerard Depardieu about the female sculpture who was a lover and apprentice to the more famous Rodin.

Modigliani – Haven’t seen it yet, but it stars Andy Garcia. If you aren’t aware of who Amadeo Modigliani is… he’s basically a “rival” of Picasso. Buteven I don’t know that much about him or his art.

Artemisia – The famous female Caravaggisti. Foreign, with no particularly famous actresses whom I’ve heard of.

Girl with a Pearl Earing – probably the most recent movie about an artist. It covers a brief period in Van Eyck’s life mainly revolving around a maid who may or may not have actually been the Girl with a Pearl Earing. Saw it in theatres, surprised by who they got and Scarlet Johannsen is the only actress I have ever seen who actually looks like the girl in the famous portrait.

Frida – you’ve heard of it. Selma Hayek, Alfred Molina… I like their work but the movie didn’t exactly “grab” me. Can’t even remember whether or not I finished it.

Basquiat – Awesome awesome film, but at times… especially whenever there is a scene with David Bowie playing Andy Warhol… weird. Jeffrey Wright did a good job and the director was personal friends with the actual Basquiat.

Vincent and Theo – Tim Roth playing Van Gogh… honestly, who else could do it? Actually there might be a movie with Brad Pitt being Van Gogh… … …. riiiiight. Anyways, I haven’t seen it but I’m glad they decided to a “with Theo” angle because Theo was a huge influence in Van Gogh’s life. In the 8 year period he painted, he wrote almost a thousand letters to his brother. There are quite a lot of movies about Van Gogh… Lust for Life, being another.

The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci – This 1970s miniseries is quiet confusing, dated, and incredibly boring. I mean, it’s hard because Leonardo was a pretty alienated man so any chance of dialogue and character development is hard for an actual thematic movie instead of this dramatized documentary. I included it because… well… it has actors playing the artist but I won’t recommend it because it’s not told in some theatrical way.

Surviving Picasso – oh man, Anthony Hopkins playing Picasso is delicious. That’s right, I went there. So far I haven’t been able to find a dvd version of this movie and I doubt one does or ever will exist. But I can’t wait to see it.

Love is the Devil – A movie about Francis Bacon; No, not the more famous and more important philosopher. This movie is about the awkwardly and unsettling gay British painter. This movie… uh… wasn’t very entertaining and wasn’t very “historical.” It’s like Pollock, but gay and without a coherent timeline. You didn’t see him rise and fall (he was basically always falling or just stayed down).

Carrington – I don’t know who she is or even what her art looks like or even what style of art it is. I just happened to find it while looking for the Francis Bacon movie title. It’s got Emma Thompson in the lead though…

Rembrandt – Careful now, it’s a movie made in 1936. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t look good. First of all, quite a lot of paintings have been attributed/found/restored and a lot of “new” information about Rembrandt’s life and his methods have emerged in the art history world since 1936.. But then again, this was made pre-WWII so it might have some vague reference to some vague painting which “might” have been lost during that war.

The Agony and the Ectasy – Ahh! Michelangelo played by….. Charleston Heston? Well, they got one thing blatantly wrong about the movie. Michelangelo painted standing whereas Heston is shown painting on his back (as most Fresco painters and muralists do today).

Moulin Rouge – I don’t think the most recent version of this film is really about the painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, but I think previous versions pay more homage to him at least. Beats me, I haven’t seen both and not much of anything here particularly interests me.

The Moon and Sixpence – I hate to admit it, but this movie is only loosely based on Paul Gaugin’s life. It’s a 1942/43 movie based on a W. Somerset Maugham novel.

Goya in Bordeaux – Francisco Goya thats right! And of course is foreign and filled with unknown actors and actresses but from what I’ve heard it’s a decent biopic.

Phew.. thats all for now. I’ve left out a few tv-movies and I’m sure I’ve missed quiet a few foriegn films in the asian arena but that’s a good enough list… for now.


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