Paul Gauguin feels smothered by the atmosphere prevailing in Paris in the year 1891. Around him, everything is so artificial and conventional: he needs authenticity to renew his art. Failing to convince his wife Mette and his five children to follow him to Paradise Lost, he sets out for Tahiti alone. Once there, he chooses to settle down in Mataiera, a village far away from Papeete, installing himself in a native-made hut. He soon starts working passionately, painting and carving in a style close to the primitive art specific to the island. During his two-year stay the artist will experience poverty, cardiac problems and other displeasures but also happiness in the arms of Tehura, a beautiful young native girl.Written by
Just gorgeous, well acted, beautifully and invisibly directed, though some seem to miss the subtle way the cinematography flattens the spaces and abstract the shapes like Gauguin's best artwork does. Cassel is mesmerizing and looks uncannily like Gauguin's self portraits. His portrayal can make us understand the he had no choice but to paint, and all costs.
The simple loving relationship between Paul and Tehura is worn down and corrupted in the same way the People of Polynesia were by sickness and greed introduced by the colonizers. The innocent playful fun, the jealousy, suspicion and pain... this film tells a story that shows there is no running away from the human condition.
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