Renoir (2013)


Film, music, photography, painting, are connected creative sequence and cause-and-effect relationship that often depend on each other. Biographical films about famous people in many cases do not turn out to be interesting, so sometimes it is better for us to watch a good documentary, which will provide us with a more realistic and detailed picture of a person. Watching a biographical film, in most cases we are familiar with the character and part of the person in question – we do not want to experience some visual stamp of a person who realizes not even an easy task. We want an undiscovered path, not a boring sequence of events and experiences that can be served to us by a slightly more capable editor and technical person on film.

That is why painters are a “grateful customer” for screening. Throughout film history, some interesting “works” of the seventh art have paraded, in which painters are the main characters, so it is time to mention them. Lust for Life (1956) on Van Gogh, Carol ReedovThe Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) on Michelangelo and his Sistine Chapel, Andrei Rublev (1965) on the life of a master icon in the 15th century in Russia, Frida (2002), Pollock (1997) ), Surviving Picasso (1996) with Anthony Hopkins in the lead role and various other famous painters (Caravaggio, Modigliani, Goya) with more or less successful adaptations, all the way to Renoir (2012), which we will cover in more detail.

“Structure and color must dominate more than the drawing itself”

The film touches on the last years of the famous painter’s life and the fight against advanced arthritis. Cote d’Azur 1915, the village of Cagnes-sur-Mer. Renoir is an elderly master in search of his muse. He lives with his youngest son Koko in his magnificent villa and luxury, while he has two left on the battlefields. He is also a widower, operated on by wars and great changes in the world. A perfectionist who cares most about being in a creative crisis. They received a report that their sons were wounded, and that the younger Jean was fired and was coming to recover. At the same time, the arrival of the red-haired actress Andre was needed, to pose for him, whose build and eros awaken the aged lion to continue creating.

The film begins like a sepia with an orange color and scatters Andrea’s wavy hair in the frame, which “on the way to paradise” comes through a sun-drenched garden on a bicycle. Visually impressive as well as Renoire’s style. From the very beginning, it was clear to me which direction the director was going. He wanted to evoke all the beauty of nature that Renoir usually painted. He was careful to capture every solar piercing of the canopy, all the beauty of the naked body and the fatality of the muse, which was jewelry for meadows, rivers, interiors with skillfully created background in the form of curtains, windows through which light and doors shyly broke through as a contrast to that light.

I really have no objections to photography, scenography, costume design, but we come to a stumbling block in the film, and that is a story that is branched into several layers. Renoire’s relationship with the model, Renoire’s relationship with children, especially with Jean, the love story between Jean and Andrea, Renoire’s deviation towards the scourge of war, his illness that causes him problems at work, etc.… swing and it’s not clear to us who the main character in the story is, whether it’s Renoir senior painter or Renoir junior, one of the later greatest directors. They are both vivid personalities and that connection and their relationship do not have the right answer to the fantastic visual figure of the film to which I have to return to wash away these negative statements, which did not kill my positive experience.

The play of colors is sometimes sepia, sometimes in frames like a painting canvas in the contrast between open and closed space, as well as a slow-moving image of dipping a brush into water and decomposing the remnants of paint like smoke, etc. Special attention was paid to music. It is pleasant, we feel every race on the piano like raindrops, and when there is no music, it is replaced by the noise of the wind, the scratching of the brush on the canvas, the rustling of the bedding, the singing of birds. There was also room for metaphors as in the scene with the recruits in the water, where after going for a swim they float lifelessly on the surface in response to the ruthlessness of war, extinguishing young lives. The metaphor is also reflected in the relationship between the model and the fruit. In many scenes, Andre enjoys apples, which is a reference to the forbidden fruit and innate female play. Renoire’s relationship with his sons is also interesting. He is seemingly distant and without emotions for them, and the sons are in the years of “identity crisis”, they do not have a built-in goal and self-esteem.