And rarely shown on US television, I recently caught this on Ovation channel; luckily I have satellite.
Isabelle Adjani is wonderful as tragic Camille Claudel, apprentice to narcissistic sculptor Auguste Rodin, who is at the nadir of his profession when he meets Claudel. Claudel is at first naive and young, falling for Rodin and his grandiosity, he declares her work genius, but gradually undermines her spirit and mental health. We see a foreshadowing of his envy when he first meets Claudel, and comments that at least she still has a passion for her art, which he has lost long ago.
The photography of the stark and cold Paris studio in February is haunting, we feel the cold as Claudel sets up her clay in the crumbling white studio, with no heat or fire. Paris is freezing in February.
Claudel's family denigrates her ambition, except for her brother who empathizes but cannot really help an aspiring female artist (unheard of, and certainly a bane to Rodin's ego).
Eventually her unraveling begins, as she feels Rodin is conspiring her downfall; Claudel had suffered a form of paranoid schizophrenia, interesting that as a female artist she garners less sympathetic reviews than the ego-maniacal Picasso or misogynistic Man Ray.
Overall this film is a do not miss which deserves 10/10 for tackling a difficult and painful subject some would rather turn a blind eye toward: women artists in history.
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