Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I, Claude Monet - film

The documentary, I, Claude Monet, was shown in February and sold out, so the wonderful Cape Cinema did encore showings, one yesterday and another tonight. I skipped the first showing thinking I'm so familiar with his Impressionist paintings, I had little to learn.  WRONG! of course.

Yes, I have seen, in museums and in books, a large selection of the many, many paintings he did. I actually knew very little about his life.  Especially I was touched that he not only wrote constant begging letters for money to a variety of people during his first  20 or  so years. He was impoverished to the point that his wife died from lack of medical care and perhaps a baby as well  -- the movie was unclear as it was almost all a voice reading from his letters.

As a documentary it was repetitious in the sense of being one letter after another with pictures of the places he was living and the paintings he did of those places.  There were photographs of him and his family -- he eventually had a second wife and a total of 8 children and was financially well off. There was no discussions, really about his style which I found alright because I've read a lot about the Impressionists' use of light and I think no one did it more effectively than Monet. The sound track was a sometimes tiresome piano score, occasionally with a cello -- the credits told me it was composed specifically for this film.  I would have liked more variety. But it was beautiful to see.  One had been to Giverney when it was in full flower -- I envy her that experience, the shots the were magnificent.

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