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At Eternity’s Gate: Willem Dafoe Looks Promising in Vincent Van Gogh Biopic

At Eternity’s Gate: Willem Dafoe Looks Promising in Vincent Van Gogh Biopic

by Yash Saboo September 13 2018, 8:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 46 secs

The trailer released for At Eternity’s Gate, an upcoming artistic biopic on painter Vincent Van Gogh and it looks fantastic. Willem Dafoe plays the tortured artist, who suffered from depression and mental illness during his sad life, and who didn’t see success from his paintings while alive. The promising cast also includes Oscar Isaac, Rupert Friend, Mathieu Amalric, Mads Mikkelsen Emmanuelle Seigner and Niels Arestrup.

This looks fantastic. This expressionistic-looking film is directed and co-written by Julian Schnabel, who previously focused on the life of New York street artist Jean Michel Basquiat in the Jeffrey Wright-starring ’96 film Basquiat; on the life of Cuban poet and novelist Reynaldo Arenas in the Javier Bardem-starring Before Night Falls; and the “locked-in,” almost fully paralyzed period of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby in the widely acclaimed, must-see The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Seriously, if you haven’t seen that latter film, do yourself a big favour and track it down, writes Screen Realm.

The Hollywood Reporter

Less than a year after earning an Oscar nomination for The Florida Project, Willem Dafoe returns with what critics are calling another career-defining performance. Dafoe as the painter Vincent Van Gogh is the perfect subject for artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel to bring to the big screen. His work in both arts and painting has more connection than it might at first seem since most of his films are about art, or at least about artists. Now Schnabel has brought his filmmaking career back to where he started it with another film about another painter, a controversial figure in his day, whose influence grew after his early death.

According to IndieWire, the official synopsis describes the film as a “journey inside the world and mind of a person who, despite scepticism, ridicule and illness, created some of the worlds most beloved and stunning works of art.”  The drama premiered at Venice, where it gained acclaim for its impressionistic storytelling based on the artist’s letters and Schnabel’s own interpretation of his memories.

At Eternity's Gate clearly focuses on Van Gogh's struggle to pursue his art, according to his personal vision, in an unreceptive time and place. "Rather than simply suggest that madness and genius are inextricably linked, as countless movies of this sort have already done, the filmmaker portrays the act of creating art as less an action and more a state of being, an ever-flowing stream that the man holding the paintbrush is powerless to stop or even control," writes Indiewire's Michael Nordine.

"Watching the artist at work and hearing nothing but his rapid brushstrokes as the wind howls in the background is meditative, even mesmeric." Schnabel's film follows last year's Loving Vincent, which told Van Gogh's story with animation made entirely of oil paintings. Its success and the acclaim that has so far come in for At Eternity's Gate in advance of its wide release in November support one observation in particular made by Dafoe-as-Van Gogh: "Maybe God made me a painter for people who aren't born yet."

The film closed New York Film Festival and is all set to release in theatres on November 16 and I am looking forward to that.

Checkout the trailer here:

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