"El artista y la modelo" is writer-director Fernando Trueba's newest project and his return to live action after a thoroughly successful trip into the world of animation, which brought him his first Academy Award nomination for "Chico & Rita" two years ago. Almost more impressive is the writer behind "The Artist and the Model": Jean-Claude Carrière won an Oscar 50 years ago, had several nominations afterward and is known to be a longtime companion of Luis Buñuel. Carrière is consequently into his 80s already and same goes for the lead actor here: Jean Rochefort. He plays a sculptor who finds a new model that inspires him to create one more sculpture, possibly his masterpiece.
2012 was certainly a huge year for black and white movies in Spain. "Blancanieves" dominated the Goya Awards and "El artista y la modelo" wasn't far behind with nomination in pretty much all the relevant categories, even if it did not win that much. While I'm usually very fond of black-and-white films, the topic of art may be a difficult one for these. It may have hurt the overall result even a bit. You could certainly make a point that it's appropriate for the bleakness of this film taking place during wartime, but still the magnificent colors of the landscape or even the people (especially Aida Folch obviously) could have elevated the film considerably. The movie is very similar to "Renoir", France's most recent Oscar submission for the foreign language category, but as a whole I think I'd prefer "Renoir" and the colors are one main aspect, as is the look at the early years of the young Jean Renoir and his first steps into the movie industry. That's missing here a bit, maybe a second minor plot to keep the audience interested.
The ending of "El artista y la modelo" is a difficult one. You'll either love it or hate it. That much is safe. You could certainly argue that it was not really foreseeable and mainly included for shock purposes, but you could also say that predictability can be boring and this way of closing the film certainly wasn't. It's up to you. One parallel that I really enjoyed a lot was the different, yet similar, ways Rochefort's character said goodbye to the soldier and the girl. Both included th pretending of a possibility they'll meet again, which probably never existed. However, both were so different from comparing the characters he said goodbye to and his relation to these that you could certainly analyze them to death.
Finally, I'd like to add that the great Claudia Cardinale and Chus Lampreave occasionally added some nice comic relief to the film that was very much appreciated as the film as a whole was very bleak. I was not particularly fond of the inclusion of the girl's boyfriend and I felt it added almost nothing to the story, maybe a slight reference to the war, but that aspect was covered already enough in my opinion with the arrival of Götz Otto's character. Rochefort's character once said in the film. He doesn't care about the war, he just wants to finish a sculpture, which summarizes the movie pretty accurately. The war is the setting, but it's really just the frame and does not play a major role. The center is the artistry.
The Artist and the Model
The Artist and the Model
Marc Cros, an elderly sculptor, lives with his wife Lea in the south of France, safe from the War that rages in the distance. He seems to have reached the end of his life and of his art. One day, Léa gives shelter to a beautiful young Spanish political refugee named Mercè. Marc soon understands that the girl, who agrees to pose for him, inspires him and that he has no choice but to embark on this last artistic (and sensual) adventure... —Guy Bellinger
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 23, 2021 at 04:03 AM