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CEZANNE ET MOI (2016): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

CEZANNE ET MOI (2016): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

Epic battle of man versus mountain told from the point of view of someone who witnessed the whole thing start to finish. The man is 19th century painter Paul Cézanne. The mountain is Mount Saint Victoire in the South of France. The witness is Cézanne's lifelong friend Emil Zola. And the clue is in the title. (JLH: 5/5)

Review by FF2 Editor-in-Chief Jan Lisa Huttner plus Two Cents at the botttom from FF2 Senior Contributor Stephanie Taylor

Few paintings in the history of modern art are as iconic and immediately recognizable as "Mont Sainte-Victoire," an epic landscape completed by Paul Cézanne in 1904. But how many of those who cherish this image realize that Cézanne basically dedicated his life to creating it? According to Webmuseum Paris, Cézanne is known to have painted Sainte-Victoire over 60 times, so it took decades before he achieved the "Flat-Depth" effect he was striving for since at least 1885.

© Jan Lisa Huttner (4/7/17) FF2 Media

Q: Does Cézanne et Moi pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test? 

Yes, but only technically...

Emil Zola is the head of a large and fractious household. His mother "Emilie Zola" (Isabelle Candelier) squabbles with his wife "Alexandrine Zola" (Alice Pol), while his own eyes stray, finally alighting on "Jeanne" (Freya Mavor) who eventually becomes the mother of his children.

These women have bits of dialogue about household affairs, but they are always in the background. So are all of the [unnamed] female models who accompany the gaggle of Parisian artists on their romps.


Two Cents from FF2 Senior Contributor Stephanie Taylor

Written and directed by Daniele Thompson, this double BioPic is wonderfully crafted. It tugged at my heartstrings and left me misty-eyed. It’s a touching story about the friendship of Paul Cézanne (Guillaume Gallienne) and Emile Zola (Guillaume Canet) who’ve been close friends since childhood. Cézanne becomes a frustrated artist and Zola becomes a successful writer. However, conflict comes between the two when Zola writes a book that seems loosely based on Cézanne’s tumultuous life as an artist. The acting was effortless and the bond between the two characters are beyond convincing. If you’re looking for something deep, raw, emotional and heartbreaking, I highly suggest this film. (SAT: 5/5)

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