DIRECTOR:    Bruno Nuytten
FRANCE (1989)   
CAST: Gerard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani
MUSIC:    Gabriel Yared

This film would only interest you if you like historical drama. It is a romanticized version of the life of Camille Claudel, an extremelly gifted artist who was for a time the mistress of Auguste Rodin, and ultimately, the one artist he copied the most from.

The story of Camille Claudel really speaks for the many pure and innocent visionaries, that get caught up tragically with people who lack some talent, but have learnt to copy and pleasurize. August Rodin was such an artist for much of his life. Although he did have some creative ideas, and his desire to make it come alive was undoubtedly not in question, his ability to get the idea started was. For this, he depended on many novices who worked for him, and helped him design much of his work. Amidst all this is the quantity of female artists he took advantage of, one of whom went totally insane, and lost her ability to create in the process.

Camille Claudel was an outstanding visionary artist, who had a very special touch for the unusual and the precise detail which fulfills a picture or any work of art. Her ability landed her next to Rodin, whose style of verification of the woman's ability was to make her his mistress. All is well, and Rodin's best work is done next to her, until he begins getting involved with other women, and Camille begins losing it. She is very deeply involved with him. Her depth is also the measure by which her ability is alive. And his avoiding her, and no longer caring for her, begins eating away at her, until she is totally destroyed and has a nervous breakdown and eventually dies. Auguste never thanked her, or said anything flattering about his mistress, or mistresses. He was a high class, educated, snob, who thought the world owed him a favor, which he took in any way he could.

Gerard Depardieu is very good as Auguste Rodin. Rodin says very little in the way of conversation, and it is behind his ability to study and observe that he is capable of getting his ideas, and develop his work. And perhaps, Camille's downfall is that she can not cope with a man that does not communicate very well. For Gerard Depardieu, whose voice, and inflections tend to be boring, this is a plus. He has a beard, and believe it or not, it was only half way through the film, that I figured out that he was playing the famous artist. Isabelle Adjani plays Camille Claudel, and is very good. She has an artistic demeanor and feeling which goes very well with her role. She approaches the art work very curiously, and has an  approach that perhaps could have used some caution and attention from the film maker to try and help round up her story into a lot more than just an emotional breakdown. It seems that she was just a groupie in terms of those days, and her role was simply to provide the inspiration for the master?


Copyright (c) Pedro Sena 1994




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