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Séraphine de Senlis

August 23, 2011

Even if you‘re not much into watching films (I‘m definitely a books’ person), sometimes it is nice to come across a video story that helps you to forget the world around you. Wouldn‘t you agree that a good film grips your attention and makes time disappear?

Even though I‘m mostly fond of period dramas, now and then I manage to find an interesting film about famous artists. The process of creating masterpieces usually remains a mystery, so I‘m always greatful that there are people who manage to skillfully reconstruct the lives of the famous musicians, painters, poets or writers.

Film Poster

If I asked you what films about painters you‘d recommend, how many would you name? The ones from the top of my mind are “Frida” (2002), Pollock (2002) and Goya’s Ghosts (2006). Oh, there’s also “A Girl with a Perl Earring” (2003). Well, now I’d add one more – “Seraphine” (2008 – director Martin Provost). (It’s a pity, but even if you did a search on Google you wouldn’t find it in many of the “films about painters” lists.)

Séraphine Louis, known as “Séraphine de Senlis” (1864–1942), was a self-taught French painter, whose paintings have been attributed to the naïve art (art that is often characterized by a childlike simplicity in its subject matter and technique). Inspired by her religious faith, by stained-glass church windows and other religious art she created vibrant masterpieces.

The intensity of her images, both in colour and in replicative designs, are sometimes interpreted as a reflection of her own psyche, walking a tightrope between ecstasy and mental illness. (Wikipedia)

One of Seraphine's Paintings

Well, without revealing too much, I‘d say it‘s an intriguing, yet sad story about an artist, whose art just can‘t stay unnoticed. And here are some reviews that I managed to find online:

A classy drama and a sympathetic portrait of two outsiders and the vibrant, unsettling work that binds them. (Wendy Ide – The Times)

A measured, soulful and tactile work; a film with gouache beneath its fingernails. (Xan Brooks – The Guardian)

If you still have doubts… in 2009 this French biographical film won seven César Awards, including Best Film and Best Actress for Yolande Moreau who starred in the title role.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 25, 2011 11:17 am

    This film sounds just my cup of tea, I imagine it’s beautifully filmed too. I love the image on the poster. I’ll keep a look out for it when it appears on DVD in my local library. Thank you for the recommendation. Vanessa xxx

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