Friday, August 6, 2010

Camille Claudel (1988)

'A man with no faith will never be a great artist.' Paul Claudel to his sister Camille.

I'd never heard of Camille Claudel before and watched this movie because I wanted to see one with Isabelle Adjani, who I think has one of the most beautiful faces on screen. The movie was more than 2 1/2 hours long, but never boring. This is the story of Camille Claudel (1864 - 1943), female sculptor, from 1885 until 1913. Although there are people who say that the story has been too dramatized, at least we who didn't know about this wonderful sculptress, can learn to know the outline of her life and work.

Supported by her father and despised by her mother, Camille Claudel's talent is recognized by her professor, Boucher, who recommended her to Rodin, who is flooded by jobs that he needs skillful apprentices to help. Camille becomes Rodin's mistress, but he cannot leave his other mistress Rose. Camille's little brother Paul later becomes a diplomat and poet. Paul's leaving, Rodin's refusal to marry her, and a brutal attack from Rose, probably contribute in Camille's mental sickness - that she sees herself as Rodin's victim - accusing him of stealing her ideas. She shuts herself in her little workshop until her brother and mother, after the death of her father, send her to an asylum until her death.

Gérard Depardieu as Auguste Rodin, here examining Claudel's first marble

Claudel & Rodin are really genius people and it is interesting to watch them to work (even though this is only a movie). The most gripping moment in the movie, imo, is the fight between Claudel & Rodin, after he expresses his dislike after seeing Camille's work which portrays 3 figures which, according to Rodin, show Rodin torn between Camille & Rose. [The work is known as The Mature Age]. Camille thinks Rodin spends too much time socializing and neglects to work, and that his workers work hard while he only adds the finishing touches.

Isabelle Adjani as Camille Claudel - beautiful, genius, but tragic life

Shadowed by Camille's fame, it's actually Paul Claudel who give honour to the family. Paul believes that his success is due to his return to God's way. 'Paul has found God," Father tells Camille. 'He's come to terms with that. Good terms. And you, what will you have, when I'm gone?'

Camille has lost everything in the end of the movie: love, money, fame, even freedom. It's sad to see her. She is surrounded by her beautiful works in her little workshop, yet she is poor, cannot pay the rent, pay the model, or buy coal. If she knew how much her works worth today...

I almost cried when she destroyed the Hercules statue. The movie is beautiful, but at times I feel several frames are missing. It seems they still thought the movie was too long and cut brutally here and there. Like in the scene where Rose attacked Camille, suddenly Camille was bent over the stove, but when Rose started to attack? 

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