Nyff: Julian Schnabel's "At Eternity's Gate"

  • MUBI
In general, I’m a fan of van Gogh movies—a pretty nifty micro-genre because those films examine our ingrained notions about the intrinsic relationship between artistic genius on the one hand and mental illness, poverty, and ostracism on the other.There are two major aesthetic choices that any director making a van Gogh movie must make: (1) how your own cinematic style will comment on or parallel van Gogh’s painterly aesthetics, and (2) how the main actor will portray van Gogh’s madness. Given the subject matter, the director’s own style in these movies takes on a more significant role than in your average film. The most respected movies on the subject remain Vincente Minnelli’s Lust for Life (1956), with Kirk Douglas bellowing melodramatically as a tortured soul, and Maurice Pialat’s Van Gogh (1991), with Jacques Dutronc almost sleepwalking through the picture like an apathetic desk clerk. Robert Altman
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