Nicholas Barber's the watch list: Artists and muses
Sunday 15 September 2013
Fernando Trueba’s new black-and-white drama, now out in cinemas, is The Artist and the Model, an affectionate study of a crotchety sculptor (Jean Rochefort) who hopes to complete one last work worthy of his reputation. Unfortunately, he’s being distracted by the Second World War and the pesky demands of other human beings, but his creative block may be lifted by his refreshingly unlecherous friendship with the curvaceous refugee who poses for him. It’s a sparkling gem of a film, but big-screen relationships between artists and their muses aren’t always so heart-warming.
In Martin Scorsese’s segment of New York Stories (1989), Nick Nolte is a shaggy painter who’s so obsessed by the feet of his assistant, Rosanna Arquette, that he can’t focus on an imminent exhibition.
Nolte and Arquette are bound by mutual exploitation, but that’s positively healthy compared to the artist-model dynamic in The Shape of Things (2003), a typically misanthropic black comedy written and directed by Neil LaBute. Rachel Weisz, right, stars as a student who uses her boyfriend, Paul Rudd, as the raw material for her post-graduate project. The exact nature of that project isn’t clear until the gut-punching end of the film.
For the last word on artists and their models, see House of Wax (1953). A relic of cinema’s last 3D craze, House of Wax is notorious for its crowbarred-in stereoscopic sequences – nonetheless it’s a deliciously grisly treat. Vincent Price and his assistant, Charles Bronson, are the wax-figure sculptors. And the fact that Bronson’s character is called Igor is presumably meant to echo an earlier fictional relationship that resulted in a monster.
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
American film board gives gay film Love Is Strange R-rating despite no sex or violence
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians