The Artist and the Model suffers from the opposite affliction: It has all the trappings of a serious work of art, and it hasn't been hurried but it remains, in the end, disappointingly hollow.
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While veteran director Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque) and writer Jean-Claude Carrière don’t bring much novelty to the May-December/muse-artist/naked-clothed cliché, they do imbue the material with genuine feeling—exploring the melancholy of waning days and a defiantly naive belief in artistic transcendence.
The lovely and poignant drama The Artist and the Model stirringly presents art, life and death as one irrevocably tangled trio.
Much like “La Belle Noiseuse,” the 1991 Jacques Rivette film it resembles, this contemplative drama washes over you.
A wholly fictional tale, and while it has a few lovely, tender moments, there’s a definite feeling of “been there, drawn that.”
It is a film with nothing but delight — no major revelations, no gravity and no meaning. This superficiality is a problem only because of the pretense of being about great art.
This safe, solemn tale of an aged artist whose vitality is briefly revived by a pretty young thing is unconvincing as an articulation of the potentially spiritual nature of the artist/model relationship.
It’s a miniature art history lesson that is also a rapt communion between two people who, at least in this moment, are joined in the ecstasy of creation.
It’s a modest, reserved character piece that doesn’t push an agenda. The problem is that it comes across as if it lacks opinions, rather than holding them back.
Treating one's audience like ignorant children in need of lecturing is hardly a way to win fans, or display one's own artistry.