Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Art Movie #2- Seraphine

  This week's artist movie is the French film "Seraphine".  Yolande Moreau plays the tragic French painter Seraphine; a cleaning woman and laundress who secretly paints in the evenings after she is done cleaning the homes of her clients.  A sad movie about lonely and disturbed woman who is a great natural painter.  She secretly paints in her attic apartment in a small village during the German occupation of France, during WWII, while living hand to mouth doing whatever she could to earn money.  The actress, whom some might remember from her role as the landlady in the film "Amelie", does a fantastic job playing this powerful and disturbed woman.  All of Seraphine's paintings are based on  nature and are really quite fantastical.  She makes her paints from various things that she can find; pigs blood, crushed herbs, melted wax from the church altars.  She is poor and often goes hungry in order to buy art supplies.  Her art is energetic and bold in color and natural composition.  This woman, like Vincent Van Gogh, was driven and obsessed by her work, while the community around her scoffed at her vision and, at best ignored her obvious talent.  She was religiously obsessed from her upbringing by catholic nuns, but she had a very sweet demeanor.  Seraphine is discovered by a famous German art dealer near the end of her life and begins to gather notice from the art world.  By the time she is finally recognized for her work, she is suffering religious delusions and is put into a sanitorium.
  It is an inspirational tale and really quite sad.  This is a very quiet and emotional movie; I highly recommend it.

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