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France, Belgium · 2008
2h 5m
Director Martin Provost
Starring Yolande Moreau, Ulrich Tukur, Anne Bennent, Geneviève Mnich
Genre History, Drama

French naïve painter Séraphine de Senlis was a servant who developed into a gifted, self-taught painter. Discovered by William Uhde, she rises to prominence between the wars alongside naïve painters such as Henri Rousseau himself. The instability of the Great Depression and World War Two leads de Senlis to madness, however, and she falls into obscurity.

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Village Voice by

Séraphine's dependence on her patron--a cultivated but emotionally detached homosexual, who knew a fellow outsider when he saw one but came and went in her life without warning--is almost as unbearably moving as her inevitable unraveling--when money and fame cut the artist off from her creative wellsprings and drove her over the edge.


The New York Times by A.O. Scott

The mystery of Séraphine de Senlis -- who died in a mental hospital in 1942 and whose work survives in some of the world’s leading museums -- is left intact at the end of Séraphine. Rather than trying to explain Séraphine, the film accepts her.


NPR by Bob Mondello

Writer-director Martin Provost tells much of Seraphine's true-life story without words, lingering here on the process by which she makes paints, there on the obsessive single-mindedness she brings to her art.


Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan

What makes Seraphine, directed and co-written by Martin Provost, so exceptional is that it neither condescends to nor romanticizes its subject.


Christian Science Monitor by Peter Rainer

The scene is so emotionally ravishing that it breaks you apart. The peacefulness that finally descends on Séraphine in the film's final moments is more than a balm. It's a benediction.

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