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Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) was one of the first well-known female painters. The movie tells the story of her youth, when she was guided and protected by her father, the painter Orazio Gentileschi. Her professional curiosity about the male anatomy, forbidden for her eyes, led her to the knowledge of sexual pleasure. But she was also well known because in 1612 she had to appear in a courtroom because her teacher, Agostino Tassi, was suspected of raping her. She tried to protect him, but was put in the thumb screws... Written by
The movie is a biography of the painter Artemisia Gentileschi, but many major details of her life were changed, leading to widespread criticism. In the movie, the relationship between Artemisia and Agostino is portrayed as a beautiful love affair, and the reason Artemisia is is tortured is because she refuses to testify that he raped her. In reality, Agostino really did rape Artemisia (and other women), and the reason she was tortured was because she did testify in court that he had raped her. See more »
The painting displayed at the trial, Judith Decapitating Holofernes, was painted c. 1618, 6 years after the 1612 trial of Tassi. The self-portrait she shows Tassi was painted in the 1630's, long after she met Tassi. See more »
I didn't think the French could make a bad movie, but I was, clearly, very wrong. As has been said before, this film essentially uses its title character as a point of departure; its portrayal of her life and person have little or nothing to do with the real Artemisia Gentileschi.
The script is awful -- pretentious, stilted, and vapid -- and its rewriting of the facts is unusually offensive even in a genre that all too often makes its living by distorting, rather than retelling, history. Along with some fairly decent set design, Valentina Cervi's physical charms are the primary asset of this movie, and it's obvious from the beginning that the filmmakers were aware of this too; they waste no time in contriving various "erotic" sequences which have far more to do with titillation than with plot or character development. Unfortunately, the appeal of seeing a pretty young girl in a state of feigned sexual arousal cannot, and does not, sustain this movie. The acting is unremarkable, and the score is all too generic despite an interesting chord or two. The cinematography is OK, and there are some pretty colors, but there are also some pretty ridiculous sequences using distorted-lens effects more appropriate for a 1960s freakout movie than a costume drama. In any event, the script leaves the camera dwelling all too often on Artemisia's body, and all too seldom on her paintings.
All told, a near-complete failure. It's not intelligent or tasteful enough to be a serious film, and it's too slow and pretentious to work as soft-core pornography. So the French can fail, after all!
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