Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How Massive Is He?


Sand Art and the Black Arts

Art is Everywhere

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DADS- You Can't Live Without One

Artist and Model

   At The Cinema                           

Hidden Treasures
We first see Cros as he comes strolling in his grounds with a stick, picking up twisted twigs and things, not cleaning, just signaling that he is not presently engaged in much. Then we see his wife (played by the former luminary Claudia Cardinale) and maid in the nearby town. They discover a girl sleeping in a doorway, take her home and feed her, and learn that she is a fugitive from a refugee camp. The wife, who is a former model herself, sees at a glance that this girl, Mercè, has the sort of skin that her husband likes in models. One glance at Mercè by Cros confirms this.

In the studio, quickly convinced by Cros that she is not being inveigled, Mercè strips, and we enter this special world of nudity. It isn’t sexual; but it isn’t, of course, normal. It is a particular privileged area between them. He sets to work at once making charcoal sketches. Then, through the weeks, come figures, even an oil painting of Mercè bathing. Cros is searching for something that he is not yet sure of. We note that it is a sculptor’s basic task to make hard materials look soft.

While he works, licensed perhaps by this privacy and attuned to his searching work, Cros delivers grand pronouncements about life, often including the word “God.” We take these comments as part of his process. He is nearing completion of a kneeling figure of her.

One day, when she has been allowed to stroll about, she discovers a young man burying another young man. Both were escapees from that refugee camp, and the other man was killed. Mercè takes the surviving refugee back to Cros, who shelters him. Then a German army officer visits. When he and Cros meet, they embrace. The officer, in peacetime, was a professor of art history in a German university and is writing a book about Cros. He has come for more information. When he leaves, he tells Cros, who is of course an old friend, that he expects to be sent to the Russian front, a stroke of doom. He and Cros embrace and part.

Then comes the need to help the refugee escape. Mercè helps. Cros supplies money. Mercè, her modeling done, wants to go. She and Cros do come to one moment of intimacy, but it is in the nature of farewell. She will bicycle to Marseilles if Cros will give her his bicycle, and we last see her biking away. Cros is left alone in his studio. He gives a final touch to the kneeling figure of Mercè. Then he concludes the film—concludes everything. It is his closing statement.

This film has its own nature, almost its own reality. It is as if some gifted people got together to make it, then arranged some themes in and around the gleaming box of that private nudity. The sudden finish almost seems meant to make it our responsibility to comprehend the whole. [More]

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