Rembrandt fecit 1669

An old man slowly ascents stairs and awkwardly manages to sit in an armchair. Gazing over the room, he thinks about his life. A fast-paced series of images suffices to narrate his early years, under the watch of an old woman and over the backdrop of windmills (the…

Rembrandt

Alexander Korda does not shoot a comprehensive biography of Rembrandt Harmeenszoon van Rijn; he just studies his character over three key periods of his life. The film thus starts with the tragic year 1642, when the painter’s beloved wife, Saskia, dies, and his huge work “The…

The Draughtsman’s Contract

With the titles cleverly interspersed between the shots, introducing characters and actors, a collection of close-ups first uncomfortably draw attention to the make-ups, wigs, and grimaces of some aristocrats of the 17th century England and to the ravenous appetite for…

Lust for Life

The movie narrates the life of Dutch-born painter Vincent Van Gogh from 1879, when he is minister in the mining towns of the South of Belgium, to his death in 1890, aged 37, near Paris. Thus, it spans his entire artistic career, from his drawings of the Borinage working…

Phantom Thread

Build around a confession and set in a dated and rarefied world, “Phantom Thread” chronicles a love story drifting from the quiet domination of the male lover to the kinky passion the female lover vows to impose. The richly textured film slowly explores…

Corsage

The narrative is a loose but carefully dated chronicle of a year in the life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria and Hungary, from the end of 1877, marked by her 40th birthday, to the fall of 1878, as the Austrian-Hungarian Empire ruled by her husband Emperor Franz Josef is…

Persona

The doctor is confident: Elisabeth Vogler is in good health, physically and mentally. Nothing is wrong with her. Yet she is mute; she has lost the ability – or the willingness – to speak after experiencing a sudden and inexplicable shock onstage as she played Electra. For Elisabeth Vogler is a…

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu

In 1770, Marianne, a female painter, that is a rather unusual case in the history of arts (though more and more women worked as painters in the course of the 18th century), is invited to spend a few days in a Brittany castle to make the portrait of the daughter of…

Charulata

A young woman is embroidering a handkerchief in her room. Then, pleased with her work, she starts walking around the big, lavish house where she lives, at one point looking for a book she could like in a bookcase and at another moment touching briefly the keys of a piano. She…

Saint Omer

In a way, this is the strictest courtroom drama possible: the plot is entirely developed within the courtroom and never physically strays away, relentlessly focusing on the place and the people involved. The crime and the characters are only presented through the proceedings but are never…