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 is the best film "biography" of an artist I have ever seen. Like Peter Greenaway's THE FALLS (another favorite of mine) it uses non-professionals to great advantage... I'm not quite sure I can say how (other than that I tend to find professional actors distancing, with a few notable exceptions). It also strangely but tantalizingly mixes re-creation with pseudo-interview, creating an emotional tapestry of this lonely man's life which I have never quite been able to
UPDATE: ... Not sure why my comment cut off like that!
I am re-viewing this great film and find it just as astonishing as I did the first time through. The great _layering_ of image and sound (so that we see an oddly-cut sequence of a couple making love mixed with images of bloody sickbeds, all the while hearing Munch's palette knife scraping away or his distraught sobs) is employed to devastating effect, while the performances seem so naturalistic that it all feels less _acted_ than simply _filmed_ ... as if Watkins somehow managed to transport himself and camera back to 19th century Christiania. Absolutely spellbinding.
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