Film, TV + Theatre

Five films about artists you should watch

Hollywood reimagining


By Buro247

Five films about artists you should watch

Big Eyes  (2014)

A film directed by Tim Burton, Big Eyes has three things going for it: Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams and a real-life story about a fraud in the art world so epic and enraging that you’ll love to hate Christoph Waltz’s brilliant portrayal of Walter Keane. The star of Big Eyes, of course, is American artist Margaret Keane – portrayed by Amy Adams – who is famous for her portraits and paintings of children with big eyes. It was in the 1950s and 1960s that the paintings became phenomenally successful, but there was one twist: Margaret’s husband Walter had taken credit for them. A dysfunctional marriage and a high-profile lawsuit and court trial later, and Big Eyes is worth watching until the very end. 

Basquiat (1996) 

A film about a rags to riches Jean-Michael Basquiat, Basquiat is based on the life of the American postmodernist / neo-expressionist artist. Hailed today as one of the most important American artists of the 20th century,  Basquiat was a street artist whose graffiti artworks became the foundation on which he created the collage-style paintings on canvas that would make him famous. Discovered by none other than pop art’s pioneer Andy Warhol (portrayed by David Bowie), the film follows Basquiat’s journey to commercial fame. It’s quite a high-profile cast too, with Gary Oldman as American painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, Courtney Love as Basquiat’s street love interest Big Pink, and Christopher Walken, as an offensive interviewer.

My Left Foot (1989)

My Left Foot seems to be set up for heart-warming, inspired and sympathetic tears of sorts. An Academy award-winning film about the Irish writer and painter Christy Brown who had cerebral palsy, My Left Foot follows Brown’s triumph over the odds. Daniel Day Lewis – who won the award for Best Actor for this role – portrays Brown, who was rendered crippled by the disease and was only able to write, type and paint with the toes of one foot. And to make it ever more appealing, we’re just in love with the epic, angelic cover of Radiohead’s Creep in this trailer.

Mr Turner (2014)

J.M.W Turner was an English Romanticist landscape painter who was considered controversial in his day. Now hailed for pioneering a so-called Romantic preface to the artistic era of Impressionism, Turner turned out to have an immensely interesting career. Mr Turner follows the last 25 years of his life, delving into his relationships (spoiler: he sexually exploits his housekeeper and then falls in love with a seaside landlady!) and the turn of his artistic style, which was both celebrated and detested by the public and by royalty. British actor Timothy Spall of Harry Potter fame portrays the conflicted J.M.W Turner in the film.

Frida (2002)

Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo has been widely celebrated by feminists for her work that depicts the female experience and form. And surely, this kind of prominence never comes without some struggle; in Frida, Salma Hayek portrays the artist who was best known for her self-portraits. It is here that her professional and private life unravels: a dysfunctional marriage with muralist Diego Rivera (portrayed by Alfred Molina) in which both of them have extramarital affairs (Frida, who is bisexual, has both male and female lovers), and how Frida had began to paint to deal with the trauma of a past motor accident.

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