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UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Jacques Dutronc, Alexandra London, Bernard Lecoq, Gerard Sety, Elsa Zylberstein, Corinne Bourdon, Jacques Vidal, Chantal Barbarit, Claudine Ducret, Frederic Bonpart, Maurice Coussonneau, Didier Barbier, Gilbert Pignol, Andre Bernot, Lise Lametrie
Director: Maurice Pialat
Language: French (English subtitles)
UK: 152 mins
UK Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 15 August 2003
UK Release Date: 8 August 2003 (Limited Re-release)
Maurice Pialat - who died in January this year - wrote and directed just 10 feature films in his 25 year career. His films were intense, emotional and expressed an enthusiasm for life and a look that was both lucid and generous, but he never achieved in this country the recognition that he deserved.
His stunningly beautiful film, VAN GOGH was widely acclaimed as one of the best films about the artist and was originally released in the UK by Artificial Eye in 1992, and is re-released now as a tribute to Pialat and his films, as well as marking the 150th anniversary of Van Gogh's birth.
Jacques Dutronc won the Best Actor Cesar for his powerful portrait of the last months of the painter's life in Auvers. Dutronc, the sardonic '60s singer-songwriter, with his gaunt looks and tall, wiry frame is an inspired choice of casting for the central role.
The only Van Gogh film to measure up to its mighty tormented subject, Pialat's VAN GOGH is depicted as an 'ordinary' man; anguished, misunderstood, unappreciated and unable to find love. What is novel and immensely refreshing is the absence of biopic cliche, the film successfully concerns itself more with emotional truth than historical fact. The film was shot in the village of Auvers, 30 kilometres from Paris, where Van Gogh actually lived from May to July 1890. This was a period of great creative activity, when Van Gogh painted a new canvas every day, including some of his greatest masterpieces. Vivid scenes in brothels and Bohemian cafes, landscapes and swirling village dances combine to make VAN GOGH an unforgettable film, a fitting tribute to the creative talents of Maurice Pialat; confirming his position as one of the world's greatest directors.