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Norway / Sweden, 1976 (MIFF 1977)

Director: Peter Watkins

The Norwegian painter, Edvard Munch (1863-1944), was one of the pioneers of modern art, who, along with van Gogh, is regarded as the founder of Expressionism Through his paintings, he intended to change the way people looked at art He said, 'Instead of painting pictures of men reading and women knitting, I shall paint real human beings who breathe, feel, suffer and love People will realize how sacred that is, and they will take off their hats as though they were in church.

The film concentrates on Munch's tormented early years The artist was born in poverty in Oslo, the second of five children His mother and sister died of tuberculosis, his father suffered bouts of religious exaltation that brought him to the edge of insanity Munch later said,'disease and insanity were the black angels beside my cradle' The film indicates the social and industrial conditions of Oslo in the 1860s the prevalence of sickness and poverty, the appalling work conditions, enforced prostitution, and above all, the complacency of the bourgeoisie We watch Munch's debut as an artist in 1883, the denunciations and abuse at the beginning of his career, and his association with a group of contemporary artists and authors known as the Knstiania Bohemians.

The film traces Munch's career from Oslo to Copenhagen and Berlin, illustrating the dual themes of violent mortality and sexual betrayal in his art.

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