September 30, 2020

Van Gogh, at the gates of eternity: A luxury called Willem Dafoe | Culture

Van Gogh, at the gates of eternity: A luxury called Willem Dafoe | Culture

Willem Dafoe, in 'Van Gogh, at the gates of eternity'. In video, the critique of Boyero.

Amsterdam has multiple and unorthodox charms. For some visitors, their channels. Or the erotomaniac exoticism of the Red Light District. Or those coffee shops in which you can smoke the full range of forbidden herbs without any policeman being killed. Or spend enchanted time in the Rijks Museum seeing the painting of Vermeer and Rembrandt. Of others also, but especially of these two. And I imagine that for many people their first and most desired visit is the Van Gogh Museum. It is essential to find a schedule that is not overcrowded, avoid tourist excursions, to savor it. And the impression is as strong as it is lasting.


Address: Julian Schnabel.

Interpreters: Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac, Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric.

Gender: biopic. USA, 2018.

Duration: 111 minutes

We know a lot about the life of this man as great as he is deeply unhappy. The cinema has dealt with him several times, of his desperate loneliness (only his brother Theo and Gauguin were fond of him), his exceptional creativity, his inconsolable sense of failure at not being able to sell even one of his paintings, his stays in madhouses , those places to which it can lead the excess of pain, of isolation, of depression, its exaltation before the landscapes and the light of Arles and Auvers-Sur-Oise, its consequent suicide.

I remember with charm having seen in childhood or adolescence The crazy red hair, starring the electrifying Kirk Douglas and a vitalist and macho Anthony Quinn playing Gauguin. And it was disturbing and very plastic Kurosawa's tribute to him in Dreams I have forgotten, I imagine that with just cause, the Van Gogh directed by Maurice Pialat. And a year ago I saw the unusual and very beautiful Loving Vincent, with animated film format and in which all its sequences were painted by a group of artists imitating the technique and colors used by Van Gogh.

Van Gogh, at the gates of eternity It has the signature of Julian Schnabel, a highly sought-after painter whose work I do not know and director of a cinema that has never shocked me. Neither Basquiat, neither Before Night Falls, neither The diving suit and the butterfly. They are intense, allegedly artistic and transcendent, trying to create an emotion that is not transmitted to me.

On this occasion, his style to describe the character and the art he created is emphatic, pretentious, fatiguing, moving the camera to exhaustion. It is clear that the painter Schnabel has meticulous knowledge and unlimited admiration of the art of Van Gogh, but the explanation he gives with his images leaves me cold.

However, something paradoxical happens in this movie. The same thing happened to me Before Night Falls, portrait of the cornered and exiled Cuban writer Reynaldo Arenas, and it is that leaving Schnabel's work cold, Javier Bardem's interpretation of such a complex and unhappy character seems extraordinary, it touches me, moves me. And I want to think that some merit of this belongs to the director. Or not? The same thing happened to me with Bardem in the insufferable Beautiful. Here, Willem Dafoe makes a memorable creation of Van Gogh. With sobriety, depth, nuances, naturalness, in an excessive character that lent itself to all histrionic chaos.


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