The Artist and the Model
Jean Rochfort plays a sage and reputable sculptor, part of a generation caught between two world wars, who has lost hope for life and the inspiration to create art in "The Artist and the Model."
It's the summer of 1943, in occupied France, not far from the Spanish border, and he lives in a village constantly policed by German soldiers. Though the people work around them, trying to live normally and ignore their troublesome presence, these soldiers blight their handsome, provincial countryside.
After being arrested and put in a camp, then fleeing Spain after Franco took over, Merce (Aida Folch) is homeless and hungry. This young woman doesn't even know if her parents are still alive, but she will become the inspiration to work on his last masterpiece.
Claudia Cardinale, a great sex symbol in her time, plays the sculptor's wife, a former model who knows what type of bodies the artist likes and she helps to procure this model for him.
It would be easy to find this movie sentimental and pretentious, but the austere performances are so subtle and sincere, and the soft, luscious photography is so delicate and luminous that we forget to be jaded. It's so rare that we see black and white cinematography these days (it's almost unheard of in the American cinema) that the images alone are an absolute joy to watch. In this palette, plaster, marble and flesh are practically indistinguishable.
The plot develops with simple, but nevertheless touching, metaphors; like a German soldier who is writing a book about the artist, yet is censored by the nation he represents.
When the model's political affiliations come out, the artist learns that not only can he teach her about beauty, but she also can teach him about what it means to be alive.
The special features are few: a short interview with the director, Fernando Truba, a photo gallery and a trailer. But this award-winning, film festival favorite is well served by the detail in this high-definition Blu-ray.
"The Artist and the Model"
Black and white
DTS-HD Master Audio