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Edvard Munch1974

  • 4.3
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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Winner of "Best Foreign Programme" at the 1977 BAFTA TV Awards.


3 members like this review

This is a remarkable film creatively weaves the torment of this Norwegian artist whose childood is deeply marred by the loss of his mother, and then his beloved brothers and sisters, and so who is unable to bear loss in a relationship, with the transformative art birthed out of his feelings. The cinematography, the direction and production, the acting, the sets, the script including many of his writings, are all brilliant. The narrative places the event that made up Munch’s life with events and trends during those same years as an accompanying chronology of times where culture was leaping free of traditional conventions in Europe and elsewhere. Class and sexism of the times are voiced as part of a chorus of the different voices and people in his life in numbers far greater than a conventional film's treatment of one or, at most, a few significant influences in a biographical film. Splendid and well worth the close to three hours of film time.

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Member Reviews (17)

175801.small
top reviewer

This is a remarkable film creatively weaves the torment of this Norwegian artist whose childood is deeply marred by the loss of his mother, and then his beloved brothers and sisters, and so who is unable to bear loss in a relationship, with the transformative art birthed out of his feelings. The cinematography, the direction and production, the acting, the sets, the script including many of his writings, are all brilliant. The narrative places the event that made up Munch’s life with events and trends during those same years as an accompanying chronology of times where culture was leaping free of traditional conventions in Europe and elsewhere. Class and sexism of the times are voiced as part of a chorus of the different voices and people in his life in numbers far greater than a conventional film's treatment of one or, at most, a few significant influences in a biographical film. Splendid and well worth the close to three hours of film time.

3 members like this review

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.

2 members like this review
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filmmaker

work of pure genius

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

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?

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

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.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

A complex and multi-faceted film about a complex and multi-faceted artist's life. Beautiful conceived and carried out through flashbacks, montage and environment. A good look at yet another suffering artist and lover in an historical context of his place and his times.

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top reviewer

I loved this film, the story of Edvard Munch, the Norwegian expressionist painter. The beautiful way in the in which the film was shot, is as unique as the dialogue, and beautiful lighting. The film tells the story of the life and times of Edvard Munch, his life in "Kristiania" now known as "Oslo". The story weaves a beautiful fabric of Munch's life touching his childhood, family life, his creative process and vision. The film is a multi faceted work of art, the cinematography is superb, and the acting is first rate. One of my all time favorites, don't miss out on this classic.

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top reviewer

A painter's film: The soulful, deep gaze of Munch lingers. The camera, audience, the viewer, you are the artist, and each character evokes your empathy, giving you the role of the seeker as they look and speak directly to you, alluding to what appears at first to be a documentary film--Until you partake in the artist's technique and process long enough to see what is happening here. The palette of the film is that of the canvases depicted. The detailed narrative gives analysis of the subject matter, the source of Munch's artistic drive, endurance of criticism, his psyche, the social discourse of his contemporary intellectuals, his childhood witnessing of family illness and death. His art is a product of his suffering of all the above conditions. And his obsessive, unrequited love manifests as one of the strong themes and historical accounts of the film which is women's liberations and sexual revolution. It's inevitable, but is impossible to reconcile because of jealousy, possessiveness and the overarching need to acquire security against pain and loss. You will need to be completely committed to partaking in this story: it's long. And you may find yourself feeling forced to sit through an art history lesson. But if you really care about the culmination of an artistic genius, and their social importance to the events of turn of the (20th) century, then you will really appreciate the value of this super film about an undervalued painter.

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top reviewer

I loved the look of this film. Like a painting, that portrayed the mood of the film perfectly. What a life he had!

81f31a124a2be5587ee1385107a5b461?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0081
top reviewer

Very well done, but as dreary as the Norwegian landscape: zzzzzzzzzz.

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top reviewer

I had high expectations but it looked to me like one of them docudramas they made us watch in high school. Great film if you are into art history.

Well, even though far from being perfect. a very valuable film, so interesting to watch, that I had to give it 5 stars.

"The Scream" painting, perfectly describes this movie. shame on your opinion mr.bergman

Well done, timeless.

AN INSPIRED ,SENSITIVE and BEAUTIFUL FILM I HAVE SEEN IN A LONG TIME.....

Bergman was right.

good movie but I LOST INTEREST.