Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Edvard Munch (Peter Watkins, 1974)

Certainly a remarkable piece of work. Claustrophobically close framing for the full three and a half hours, and the quasi-fly-on-the-wall conceit, with supposedly late nineteenth century Norwegians constantly catching sight of the camera works very well indeed to get us close to Munch but also keep us at a distance from him. My reservations are that it certainly does seem rather long (though I think watching it in three parts on TV might have diminished its cumulative logic), that it so insists on the opprobrium that was constantly heaped on Munch's work that we get little sense of how he was able to carry on working, and that it doesn't make any serious attempt to explore the possibility, desipte all the undoubted agony that made up and surrounded Munch's life, that he was also perhaps a tiny bit given to indulge himself in his misery.

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