French director Edouard Deluc devotes his latest movie to the Fauvist painter and his exile in Tahiti, in U.S. theaters from July 11.
After Cézanne and I by Danièle Thompson last year and the recently released Rodin by Jacques Doillon, a third biographical movie has now arrived in theaters. This time the subject is Gauguin, another leading, 19th-century French artist and a precursor of modern art. The movie opens in 1891. Paul Gauguin is in his forties and looking for a way out of the conformist, bourgeois, Parisian life which has now stopped inspiring him. The artist leaves his wife and five children and moves to Tahiti in French Polynesia. There he hopes to rediscover painting as a free man in the wilderness, far from the moral, political and esthetic codes of “civilized” Europe. Gauguin makes his way deep into the forest, braving solitude, poverty, and illness. He also meets Tehura, a girl of just 13 in reality, who goes on to become his partner and the subject of his finest paintings. Astute audiences will notice that the teenager has been swapped for a young woman in the movie…
Edouard Deluc’s movie takes us to the heart of the artist’s self-inflicted, painful, initiatory journey at a time when his talents were still unrecognized. Vincent Cassel’s physical performance is spectacular. The actor revealed in Mathieu Kassovitz’ 1995 film La Haine plays the artist plagued by illness, appearing thin and sickly, obsessed by his work, and willing to sacrifice his family and his health in the name of his art. A self-consuming, burning Gauguin. French colonialism on the island is glossed over, and the relationship between the artist and his Tahitian muse is the movie’s main backdrop. As the film develops, the libertarian, idealistic character transforms into a dominant male figure who imprisons his lover to ensure her faithfulness, and flies into violent rages upon seeing his work copied and sold by the locals. Raw emotion does reappear at the end of the film when moviegoers are treated to the sublime paintings the artist produced during his two-year exile.
U.S. release date: July 11, 2018
Running time: 102 min
Director: Edouard Deluc
With: Vincent Cassel, Thueï Adams, Malik Zidi
U.S. distributor: Cohen Media Group
=> Find all U.S. showtimes for this movie on the website FrenchFlicks.com
Article published in the July 2018 issue of France-Amérique