Van Gogh

(Maurice Pialat, 1991; Eureka!, 15)

One of the most prickly mavericks of French cinema, Maurice Pialat (1925-2003) was a painter, documentary film-maker and occasional actor before making his feature debut in his mid-40s with L'enfance nue, an intense realistic film about a disturbed child being passed from family to family.

In 1987 Pialat famously waved his fist at a hostile Cannes audience when receiving the Palme d'Or for Under Satan's Sun (a complex Catholic movie from a novel by Georges Bernanos starring Gérard Depardieu in one of his several Pialat films). Norman Mailer was a member of the jury. Four years later Pialat flourished his fist again at the bourgeoisie in this lengthy, characteristically unromantic and unsentimental contribution to the centenary anniversary of Vincent van Gogh's death. It's a far cry in tone from the Vincente Minnelli-directed biopic Lust for Life, starring Kirk Douglas, released in France as La Vie

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