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Seraphine

Martin Provost
France, Belgium 2008 / 125’

Winner of multiple Cesar awards, this low-key biographic film is an extraordinary story about Séraphine de Senlis, the primitivist painter. The film is set in the first half of the 20th century. The simple, elderly woman leads a double life - at day toiling as a servant, at night painting in a mystical elation. She paints mainly floral compositions, guided, as she says herself, by an angel and the Holy Mary. For Séraphine - a deeply religious, oversensitive outsider - painting is so natural as breathing or hugging trees. Her talent was discovered by accident - for some time Séraphine cleaned the room of Wilhelm Uhde, promoter of naive painting, the first person to appreciate her art. Martin Provost's film speaks about the universalism of the language of art, about mutual closeness of inspiration, mysticism and madness. The director offers low-key cinema, a moving and unforgettable piece with painting-like frames that can be contemplated like pictures. This film, whose success coincided with an exposition of paintings by Séraphine de Senlis in the Parisian Maillol museum, marked the beginning of a renaissance of interest in the works of the entirely forgotten artist.

Mirella Napolska

Martin Provost

He started his artistic career as an actor (he played for instance in films by Tonie Marshall and Claude Zidi). He spent a couple of years performing at the Comedie Française theatre. Finally, he decided to devote all his attention to writing and directing. He wrote plays Le Voyage immobile (1982) and Les Poupées (1992), and then his first novel Aime-moi vite (1993). He also directed two short films: J'ai peur du noir and Cocon. His full-length debut was the French and Spanish comedy-drama starring Carmen Maura - Tortilla and Cinema. He then made Le ventre de Juliette, austerely realist and yet poetic, proving that he is a talented and truly sensitive artist. His latest film, Séraphine, confirms this opinion.

Filmography:

1990 J'ai peur du noir (short)

1992 Cocon (short)

1997 Tortilla y cinema / Tortilla and Cinema

2003 Le ventre de Juliette / Song from Within

2008 Séraphine

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