I will always check out any movie that’s about an artist (the cheesy Basquiat biopic directed by an artist (Julian Schnabel) remains one of my faves) but I have never found one that made me want to rush home and draw or taught me much about what it’s like to actually be an artist at work.
Why are movies so awful at capturing how artists work? The creative process is a part of moviemaking so you’d think directors and writers would know it intimately.
Lust for Life has lots of weeping and teeth gnashing but the process of van Gogh actually working out how to make a painting — the stumbles, the experiments and risks, the satisfaction, the exhaustion — is never there. The cartoon Loving Vincent was a lot of work to make but left me feeling hollow. The new van Gogh movie, (also by Schnabel) certainly has lots of scenes of deFoe/van Gogh actually painting but it just doesn’t recreate how the actual process unfolds, the feeling of what it is to make art all day, the drive, the rewards, the challenges. (And it advances the ridiculous theory that Vinnie was murdered by school boys).
The closest I’ve seen might be Scorsese’s episode in New York Stories in which Nick Nolte shoves a paint smeared cassette into a boom box and then attacks a canvas with gusto in the middle of the night, but it still feels kinda bogus.
I must say I’m intrigued by this trailer for a doc about Chinese factory painters:
In your opinion, what movies capture the process of art making best?