|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Originaltitel:||El artista y la modelo|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 105 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years|
France in 1943: Near the Spanish border the old sculptor Marc Cros (Jean Rochefort) lives with his wife Léa (Claudia Cardinale) in a small village. The artist completed his last sculpture some time ago. Since then, nothing has really worked out for him. Two wars and the advancing age have deprived the 80 year old of the impartiality he needs for his work. But then the young Catalan Mercè (Aida Folch) appears in the village. On the run from Franco's troops, she needs a hiding place that she offers Léa without hesitation. Because in her husband's gaze she immediately realized that Mercè could be the muse the old artist so desperately needs. When she's ready to model for him, she can live in his workshop. The unusual community of purpose of a woman at the beginning of her life and of a man who sees his end approaching is gradually transformed into a friendship that could change both of them forever…
In "The Girl and the Artist" the award-winning filmmaker Fernando Trueba deals with numerous important themes in a very reserved, almost meditative way. In artistic black-and-white pictures, the story deals with life and death, with youth and old age, with the necessity of art and with the search for beauty in a world dominated by cruelty. It is primarily the images that transport these themes. The film is very reserved about dialogues over long distances. However, there is no need for words when an expressive mime like Jean Rochefort carries the film. When the old artist despairs that he may not succeed in capturing in his sculpture the beauty that Mercès naked body radiates, his eyes say much more about this man's feelings than excessive dialogues could have.
However, this form of staging always demands a certain amount of patience from the viewer. Because as beautiful as the pictures are to look at, as fascinating as the life-drawn face of the great Jean Rochefort alone is, the film offers real entertainment in the classic sense only marginally. There are always small moments, which in themselves are rousing, moving, here and there even a little bit exciting or humorous. But for long stretches silence and a strongly reduced dramaturgy rule the events. And as a spectator, you first have to get involved with it in order to fully enjoy this drama.
As with the sculpture that the artist creates in the course of the film, in "The Girl and the Artist" the whole beauty reveals itself only at the end, when the work is viewed as a whole. If there is the possibility to reflect on what has been seen and to think about the various details, then it becomes really clear that Fernando Trueba has created far more than a series of artistically valuable pictures. He has worked through very essential themes in them, leaving the analysis entirely to the viewer. Nothing is talked into and nothing is dealt with here. The viewer can decide for himself whether he wants to enjoy the film as a purely visual work of art, or whether he wants to continue to deal with the underlying themes.
Interested in art and all lovers of sophisticated, very quiet Arthaus food will definitely get their money's worth here, no matter which approach they choose. And for that there is a very clear one: Worth seeing!
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