Monday, July 10, 2017

DVD Review: The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution

The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution. Bruce Alfred (director, producer, writer). 2001. 200 minutes. [Source: Library]

What should you know? It's a documentary. There are two episodes. Each episode is about ninety minutes or so. (90 minutes of documentary not counting the credits.) The documentary focuses on the lives of five artists: Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Berthe Morisot. But in reality, it focuses on more than just those five. So many artists, so many pieces of art, are discussed/presented. (For example, Edouard Manet, Mary Cassatt, and Georges Seurat just to name a few.) Also viewers learn about their wives, mistresses, models, patrons, supporters, doubters, haters. The whole film really gives you a big-picture context for the movement. 

The first documentary tells of the beginnings of the artists. The 'revolutionary' aspects of their art that made them unique but unsuccessful. How they chose different subjects for their works. How they chose different color palettes. How their brushstrokes were different, and how their works tended to look unpolished or half-done. Their non-stop financial struggles. Their difficulties getting their works in the salon. How they were viewed as REBELS. 

The second documentary starts in the early 1870s. The Impressionists had decided to come together as a group and have their own gallery or exhibit since their work wasn't "accepted" by the established salon. It wasn't that things were automatically easier from this time on, but, things had turned a corner. Some were now selling pieces at least some of the time. And they'd gotten a new supporter (or two or three) on their side. (For example, Durand-Ruel.) This second episode follows each artist to the very end of their lives. (Morisot was the first of the five to die. Monet the last in 1926.)

I loved seeing all the art. I loved learning more about each artist. Also the soundtrack to this one is lovely! Definitely recommended!

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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