1809, France. Captain Neuville is called to the front, leaving his future bride heartbroken. Her sister decides to write letters on his behalf to cheer her up. But it all goes south when Neuville reappears.
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
This film fails in every possible way. Even the cinematography manages to flatten the lushness of Tahiti. But the story line is worse.
One has to wonder how and why it is near impossible for modern people to reconcile that Gauguin can be both a despicable pedophile and a great artist? I guess this is the fruit of ever decreasing interest in the classics, where literature for 3,000 years did not have the difficulty we have today in portraying real or archetypical legendary persons as both great personages and contemptible.
Consider that the entire film fails to mention, even once, this "wife" was 13 years old. That his relationship with her, and the natives, is a refection of his own selfish and predatory individual colonialism. Even his abandonment of his wife and children in France, attested to as abandonment in the sourced biographies, is inverted into them not wanting to come with him.
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