THE ARTIST AND THE MODEL (R)

The Artist and the Model (R)

 
 
Merce (Aida Folch) poses for (Jean Rochefort) in a scene from 'The Artist and the Model.'
Merce (Aida Folch) poses for (Jean Rochefort) in a scene from 'The Artist and the Model.'
COHEN MEDIA GROUP

Movie Info

Rating: * * * 

Cast: Jean Rochefort, Aida Folch, Claudia Cardinale, Chus Lampreave.

Director: Fernando Trueba.

Screenwriters: Fernando Trueba, Jean-Claude Carriere.

Producer: Fernando Trueba.

A Cohen Media Group release. Running time: 101 minutes. Vulgar language, nudity, sexual situations. In French and Spanish with English subtitles. In Miami-Dade: Koubek Center; in Broward: Sunrise; in Palm Beach: Shadowood, Delray Beach.


rrodriguez@MiamiHerald.com

This review was published in March when the film played the Miami International Film Festival.

The Artist and the Model (El artista y la modelo) is the quietest, most austere film Fernando Trueba has directed. It may also be his most personal. Although he’s usually associated with colorful movies filled with music and vibrancy ( Chico & Rita, The Girl of Your Dreams, Belle Epoque), Trueba shot this film in gorgeous black and white and used no musical score. Here, silence is eloquent, and images do most of the talking.

Set in the French Pyrenees during World War II, the movie centers on Marc (the great Jean Rochefort), an aging sculptor who lives with his wife Lea (Claudia Cardinale, still vivacious) and their Spanish housekeeper (Chus Lampreave, the source of much of the film’s humor). When Lea crosses paths with Merce (Aida Folch), a homeless refugee from Spain, she recognizes the girl’s great beauty and brings her home, hoping to reawaken her husband’s artistic spirit.

In exchange for room and board, Merce agrees to pose nude for Marc, who barely speaks to her other than telling her how to pose. At first, Merce is understandably nervous. Gradually, though, she begins to understand what Marc is looking for — a vision that will compel him to sculpt — and slowly becomes his muse.

In turn, Marc begins to open up to the young woman, taking a simple Rembrandt sketch and showing her what makes it great art, name-dropping Matisse and Cézanne and, in a glorious monologue that Rochefort totally nails, laying out the two reasons why he believes God exists.

There isn’t much plot in The Artist and the Model, nor do the expected things happen (no, the pair does not fall in love). Instead, there are incidents: Marc catches a group of boys spying on the nude model. Merce brings home a soldier she helps get across the Spanish border, and a German friend makes an unexpected visit on his way to the front lines.

The Artist and the Model is a contemplative ode to creativity and imagination, to the ability to convey meaning and feeling through art. Trueba chooses his shots carefully, allowing us to see Merce through Marc’s eyes and helping us understand the artistic impulse, which can be indomitable and stubborn. It is also what keeps people like Marc living: He must be able to create or a part of him dies.

Read more Reeling with Rene Rodriguez stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">What’s the secret?</span> Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites are a brother and sister trying to solve the mystery of a demonic mirror in ‘Oculus.’

    Oculus (R)

    Mirrors have been as much of a fixture in horror movies as knives and cats that suddenly jump from the shadows. But they’re best in cameos, as in the ending of Dressed to Kill or the bathroom scene in The Shining. Oculus revolves entirely around an ornate mirror that is, what, a gateway to hell? A summoning force for evil spirits? A really ugly piece of furniture from a medieval Pottery Barn?

  •  
Iko Uwais and Cecep Arif Rahman square off in a scene from ‘The Raid 2.’

    The Raid 2 (R)

    Every time you think The Raid 2 can’t possibly top itself, writer-director Gareth Evans goes “Oh, yeah? Watch this.” Most of 2011’s The Raid: Redemption took place inside a tenement raided by a SWAT team to apprehend a mobster and his squad of killers holed up inside. Practically no one survived the movie — the violence was astonishing — but the contained setting and the idea of having events grow hairier for the good guys the higher they went in the building gave the tight 101-minute movie a sense of compressed, relentless action. Now comes The Raid 2 (known as The Raid 2: Bernadal in its native Indonesia), which is far more expansive and complicated, and runs almost 2 ½ hours. Miraculously, the new picture makes the old one feel like Evans was just warming up.

  •  
A sexual addict (Charlotte Gainsbourg) visits a therapist (Jamie Bell) with unorthodox methods to try to help get over her compulsion in ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2’

    NYMPHOMANIAC VOL. 2 (unrated)

    Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 (unrated)

    Things get really kinky in Nymphomaniac Vol. 2, the second chapter in director Lars von Trier’ epic-length saga about a woman who can’t get enough. If you saw Vol. 1, which ended with our perpetually horny heroine Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) losing all feeling in her sexual organs, you might be wondering, “How could this movie outdo the first one?” To quote the great Bachman-Turner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category