The life and work of Alice Neel (1900-1984), American portrait painter. Part of the narration is chronological, part consists of interviews with friends, other artists, scholars, and family... See full summary »
The life and work of Alice Neel (1900-1984), American portrait painter. Part of the narration is chronological, part consists of interviews with friends, other artists, scholars, and family members, particularly two sons, Richard and Hartley, who are none too sanguine about their childhood and their mother's Bohemian life, and the filmmaker himself, a grandson whose querulous voice is heard from time to time. The film also includes footage of Neel, later in life, painting, talking, appearing on television, and giving lectures. Throughout, we see her paintings, bold, frank, and direct. After years of poverty and obscurity, fame comes as she nears 70. Written by
This was such a fine biography of a really ordinary women. The close-ups the film maker chose were familiar to those who love the subject's work and that of Chuck Close, one of the commentators. Alice Neel was actually a woman from an ordinary background, but this film pointed out the extraordinary contributions it's possible for such women to make. All it takes is the ability to recognize that no one can define you; Alice Neel was able to be a loving mother as well as an extraordinary artist. The work was close to the film maker, but it had the feeling of objectivity. I especially enjoyed the interaction between his father and the film maker and the scene of the grandmother and her grandson. Enjoy!
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