The Artist and the Model Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Jean Rochefort, Claudia Cardinale
  • Director: Fernando Trueba
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • Release Date: February 11, 2014
  • Run Time: 105 minutes


            There are some great sequences within this meditation on art and life set during Nazi occupation of France in the summer of 1943, combined with beautifully fitting black-and-white photography by Daniel Vilar. Scene to scene, The Artist and the Model is a thoughtful and elegant film, but the overall product left me feeling somewhat under-whelmed. Rather than dig into the emotional and personal connections in the material, the narrative ends up feeling far more philosophical and theoretical instead. Even with the inclusion of dramatic story elements involving the struggle against the Nazis and hidden Spanish resistance fighters, The Artist and the Model stays too emotionally detached from its characters for any real suspense to form.


            When aged model and wife to a famed French artist, Léa Cros (Claudia Cardinale) comes across a poverty stricken Spanish girl named Mercé (Aida Folch), she sees potential in her as a model. Providing her with food and shelter in exchange for work, Marc Cros (Jean Rochefort) begins a sculpture with Mercé as the model posing. This relationship seems beneficial to both, though strain begins with Marc’s growing attraction to his model and the relationship she begins with a Spanish resistance fighter found injured in the woods near the house. With no interest in the war going on or anything else in life outside of his art, Marc reluctantly finds himself tangled in life while attempting to finish his sculpture.


             Much of Fernando Trueba’s film is intentionally understated, leaving much to be decided by the audience. We participate in the creation of a piece of art, and with each step in the process of this creation we are able to understand the heart of the artist more completely. At the same time, it does little to let us understand what is going on in the mind of any character. This film provides a fuller understanding of the creative process than it does the human condition.


            The Blu-ray release include an interview with director and co-writer Trueba, along with a photo gallery and trailer.


    Entertainment Value: 6/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10

    Historical Significance: 5/10

    Special Features: 4.5/10




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