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France / USA, 2001 (MIFF 2001, Documentaries)

Director: Raoul Ruiz

Over the course of three years, internationally renowned filmmaker Raul Ruiz (Time Regained, MIFF 2000) documented short but extremely intensive sessions with artist Jean Miotte at the painter's studios in New York, Hamburg and France. Employing his surrealist eye. Ruiz largely leaves the work to speak for itself, interjecting only very occasionally, to question the painter about his methods and motivations.

With the director content to observe, the audience is afforded a rare opportunity to see complete works develop from scratch. Each transition is captured and the film remains rivetting viewing due largely to the dramatic, flamboyant manner in which Miotte creates. The style of the film allows the viewer the equivalent of a seat in the corner of the studio of an artist whose work hangs in the most prestigious galleries on every continent.

The tempo of the film is complemented by Ruiz' inspired choice of music. With a backdrop of everything from experimental orchestral works to Japanese Koto and majestic choirs, Miotte's slashing brushstrokes appear as a war with the canvas, in a battle to capture fleeting inspiration, 'Painting is not a speculation of the mind or the intellect," claims Miotte, "It is a gesture that comes from within," This striking film is an extension of that philosophy.

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