Following a rough chronology from 1884 to 1894, when Norwegian artist Edvard Munch began expressionism and established himself as northern Europe's most maligned and controversial artist, ... See full summary »
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Erik L. Christensen
Following a rough chronology from 1884 to 1894, when Norwegian artist Edvard Munch began expressionism and established himself as northern Europe's most maligned and controversial artist, the film also flashes back to the death from consumption of his mother, when he was five, his sister's death, and his near death at 13 from pulmonary disease. The film finds enduring significance in Munch's brief affair with "Mrs. Heiberg" and his participation in the café society of anarchist Hans Jaeger in Christiania and later in Berlin with Strindberg. Through it all comes Munch's melancholy and his desire to render on canvas, cardboard, paper, stone, and wood his innermost feelings. Written by
I felt as if there were invisible threads between us. I felt as if invisible threads from her hair still twisted themselves around me. And, when she completely disappeared there, over the ocean, then I felt still how it hurt, where my heart bled, because the threads could not be broken.
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Peter Watkins' Edvard Munch contains artistic innovations in editing and story that surely would have changed the face of how films are made--if only more people had seen it. Through an inspired stream-of-consciousness editing style, Watkins approximates the workings of the mind with greater success than ever before seen on screen. Because of this achievement, Watkins is able to convey, with vivid strokes, the intensity of Munch's emotions, and how they led to his tortured art. It is tragic that this film has not seen larger distribution, just as it is tragic that Watkins' other films are cloistered by the very companies that produce them. But then again, I cannot imagine going to the cineplex and watching a statement of life through art as soaring and original as Edvard Munch. For now, I'll continue to treasure it alone.
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