Film Review: French Hit ‘The Painting’ Challenges Expectations

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Average: 5 (2 votes)

CHICAGO – Like the brilliant work of Sylvain Chomet (“The Illusionist”), Francois Laguione’s “The Painting” is designed more for adults than children, unless your kid is a particular aficionado of art history. Opening tomorrow at the Siskel Film Center in Chicago, “The Painting” is a deeply allegorical work about coming to terms with a creator who may have left us behind but it’s also just a delightful, romantic adventure with a visual palette far more engaging than most animated blockbusters this year. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The painter has left behind his work and the creations within that work vary in terms of completion. Within an elaborate tableau, the most noble people are the Allduns (all done), the figures that have been fully painted, complete with elaborate facial features and detailed costumes. The Halfies are mostly complete and might only be missing a brushstroke here or there but they’re still shunned by the Allduns. They’re not as hunted or loathed as the Sketchies, the loosely-drawn figures without much shape and no color.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Painting” in our reviews section.

Of course, as in all great fantasies that feature class systems, we get a Romeo and Juliet in the world within this painting. Ramo, an Alldun with more of a heart than his pretentious peers, falls for Claire, a Halfie. Perhaps if Ramo can find the painter, the creator of them all, he can convince him to complete Claire, to color in her eyes and lips and give her the same social standing within this divided world.

Claire disappears and Ramo and Claire’s friend Lola set out to find her, crossing into a part of the painting deemed no man’s land. Plume, a Sketchie, trails along and the trio end up bouncing from painting to painting, finding a war landscape, a half-nude woman, a self-portrait, and a Venetian festival. Here is where “The Painting” comes to life. While the first act feels a bit too obvious in its allegory, the film truly takes off when it becomes less straightforward and more dreamlike when the trio adventure into uncharted territory to find God, I mean, the Painter. The middle act of “The Painting” is truly brilliant.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “The Painting” review.

“The Painting” was written by Jean-Francoise Laguionie & Anik Leray and directed by Laguionie. It opens at the Siskel Film Center in Chicago, tomorrow, August 2, 2013.

The Painting
The Painting
Photo credit: Cinedigm

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