1 June 2004 | taichijuani
David Carradine delivers a characteristically fine performance as the artist Paul Gauguin in this made-for-TV film. An amazing work for its time, GAUGUIN THE SAVAGE has aged well. It tells the story of one of the founders of modern art, a man who left his wife and 5 children in order to pursue his calling. In this film, Carradine paints, plays a lute, and acts both the drunkard and the womanizer. In some respects, this is the role that he was born to play. His training as an artist, a musician, and his struggles with alcohol bring a certain poignance to the role.
Gauguin has been called "the precursor to the hippies." In the 70s, Carradine was the embodiment of the hippy movement. Like Carradine, Gauguin enjoyed the company of women. Like Carradine, he often lived in poverty while he pursued his gift. Like Carradine, he believed in himself when others lost confidence. Fortunately, Carradine's talent is being newly recognized as a result of his fantastic performance in KILL BILL 2: Unlike Gauguin, Carradine will be able to enjoy his acclaim while he can still enjoy it!
If you haven't seen much of Carradine's work besides KUNG FU, this is a fine place to start. I'd also urge you to see BOXCAR BERTHA, THE LONG RIDERS, and his Oscar-nominated turn as Woody Guthrie in BOUND FOR GLORY. If you're up to some heavier viewing, try THE SERPENT'S EGG, directed by Ingmar Bergman. For the sheer fun of Carradine's quirky performance as a homicide detective investigating a series of bizarre slayings, see Q: THE WINGED SERPENT -- or the more recent MONSTER HUNTER (aka NATURAL SELECTION), in which Carradine plays an FBI Special Agent who may be insane, but who is hot on the trail of a serial killer who mails his victims' heads to his mother.