Blackpaint 64

Films about Art

I’ve not been to any galleries or read any arty stuff today, so I thought I’d go through my top ten arty films.  Here goes:

Love is the Devil, by John Maybury  about Francis Bacon.  Derek Jacobi as Bacon,   Daniel Craig as George Dyer, everyone in it brilliant, Miss Belcher, Henrietta Moraes, Farson, Deakin, the Colony.

Andrei Rublev, by Tarkovsky.  I’ve written about this at length in Blackpaint 43.  incomprehensible without a plot summary from Wikipedia, but staggering images and haunting theme (cliche, but it is).

La Belle Noiseuse, by Jacques Rivette.  lots of tiresome French angst, but Michel Piccoli always good and Emmanuelle Beart excellent as the woman who poses nude for him to complete his long-unfinished masterpiece.  They don’t take a fornication break, which was a surprise to me, the film being French.  This was a disappointment, but there is an attraction in the long drawing and painting sequences, in which the hands shown are those of Bernard Dufour, a well-known French artist.  Best art on film in fiction (I hadn’t forgotten the Pollock film by Namuth and the one on Matisse).

The Rebel, by Robert Day. Starring Tony Hancock, of course, inspired piss- take, including the unforgettably stupendous “Aphrodite at the Water Hole”.  See it at once.

Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry, by Paul Tickell.  This version of a BS Johnson novel never got released because it had terrorist scenes and happened to coincide with 9/11.  Great visuals and soundtrack and cut aways to artists in Renaissance period (for some reason I forget – but glorious visuals).  Gratuitous sex and violence, fortunately.

Pollock, by Ed Harris and starring same.  Drunken, brawling, sensitive,  bombastic, promiscuous, selfish – all the things that an Abstract Expressionist  should be proficient at – he also pisses in Betty Guggenheim’s fireplace.  Some stuff about painting too.

Lust for Life, by Vincente Minelli.  Much derided, but I like it – you have too make allowances for the 50s cliches.  The paintings are quite good (well, staggering, of course).  And Kirk Douglas does look like him, doesn’t he? 

Frida, by Julie Taymor.  Selma Hayek as Kahlo,  Albert Molina as Diego, great story, great paintings (no,. let’s be honest, I hate them – but the film is a good biopic).

A Bucket of Blood, by Roger Corman.  A talentless waiter who wants to be a sculptor starts murdering people and smothering their bodies in wax or clay,  or something.  He’s immediately successful of course, but one day, at his exhibition, it’s rather warm…   Asks serious questions about the creative experience and what constitutes a work of art.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Peter Webber.  Don’t really like this film- bit worthy I thought, too much hype.  I remember some stuff about mixing colours…  Has to go in though, because I only had nine without it.

Listening to Parchment Farm by Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, live at the Flamingo:

“I’m puttin’ that cotton in a ‘leven foot sack (*2)

Well I’m puttin that cotton in a ‘leven foot sack, with a 12 guage shotgun at my back…”

Tomorrow, arty books (fiction).



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