October 7, 2018

RODIN: Sorry...No Flying Reptiles

Starring Vincent Lindon, Izia Higelin, Severine Caneele, Edward Akrout. Directed by Jacques Doillon. (2017/119 min).


Review by Fluffy the Fearless😸

I know for a fact you can make a compelling movie about artists and their craft. Reviewing La Belle Noiseuse earlier this year showed me that. Despite being longer than The Ten Commandments, not-only did that film effectively capture one man's obsession with his muse, one couldn't help but develop an appreciation for the artistic process. Rodin isn't nearly as long, but sure feels like it, without a single flying reptile to liven things up.

Vincent Lindon is the titular character in this biographical film of the famous French sculptor. Though commissioned to create a piece based on Dante's Inferno, much of the film centers on his relationship with Camille Claudel (Izia Higelin). Not only is she an artist in her own right - though fame is not forthcoming because she's a woman - Camille is also his muse, model and lover. It's a complicated relationship because even though Rodin is obsessed with her, he can't bring himself to leave Rose (Severine Caneele), the woman he actually lives with (and mother of his son).

Auguste Rodin accidentally sculpts another ashtray.
While aesthetically interesting, Rodin is seldom very involving. The episodic nature - often with little in the way of transition - doesn't help, but Auguste Rodin himself isn't presented as someone we should really care about. He talks an awful lot about his craft and the inherent beauty of the human form (mostly to Camille). But unlike the subject of 2014's Mr. Turner, who managed to be likable despite being sort-of a pig, Rodin mostly comes across as arrogant, narcissistic and pretentious.

In the end, we don't walk away with a greater appreciation for the man's craft than we did coming in. Rodin looks wonderful, the sculptures themselves are interesting and the performances are good, but this same story was presented with more sincerity - and less pretension - in 1988's Camille Claudel.

FEATURETTE: "Sculpting Rodin"

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