Winner of "Best Foreign Programme" at the 1977 BAFTA TV Awards.
Famously described by Ingmar Bergman as a "work of genius," Peter Watkins' multi-faceted masterpiece is more than just a bio-pic of the iconic Norwegian Expressionist painter. Focusing initially on Munch's formative years in late 19th Century Kristiania (now Oslo), Watkins uses his trademark style to create a vivid picture of the emotional, political and social upheavals that would have such an effect on his art. The young artist (Geir Westby) has an affair with "Mrs. Heiberg" (Gro Fraas), a devastating experience that will haunt him for the rest of his life, and his work is viciously attacked by the critics and public alike. He is forced to leave his home country for Berlin where, along with the notorious Swedish playwright August Strindberg, he becomes part of the cultural storm that is to sweep Europe.
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I'm a big Munch fan. Interestingly, the shots in the film corresponded to Munch's subjects in his paintings. The film also gives a good picture of the times in Norway at the end of 19th century.
I'm inspired by the story of Edvard Munch. The hypocrisy of artists and the politics that surrounded his work is just so ironic. How love, pain, death, suffering and life with all its shadows, light and beauty influenced this wonderful man had my eyes glued to see just what would happen next. What thought would inspire? What emotion would carry him to his next peak, valley? But most importantly, what would these release from his brush?
The layered sound design - the translation of Munch's art to color compositions on film - the frenetic elliptical editing - and the contextual views offered in voice over - all make this not only highly recommended but essential viewing! - for artists, historians, and any compassionate individuals who champion expression.