Maurice Pialat's homage to the bourgeoisie's "favorite painter," Vincent van Gogh, is considered by some to be this French filmmaker's masterpiece. In the humble opinion of TrustMovies, however, Pialat never quite produced a masterpiece. His films, though some of them are very good, fall short of that exalted mark. Even so, VAN GOGH, released in 1991 and now available here in the USA on home video -- thanks to the efforts of the Cohen Film Collection -- is certainly the best of any of Pialat's work that I have so far seen.
Jacques Dutronc -- above, who has proven himself over the years to be especially fine in crime drama (Toutes peines confondues) and may here have found his finest role -- van Gogh comes alive in ways not seen previously in films about the artist: certainly not in Lust for Life, and not even, I think, in Robert Altman's very good version, Vincent & Theo, in which Tim Roth was able to go bananas (and quite impressively, of course) as the tortured artist. That latter film's release and minor success in the USA may have helped preclude the release of Pialat's version on these shores the following year.
Alexandra London, above) and a local whore (given great energy and not a little depth by the wonderful Elsa Zylberstein).
Bernard LeCoq (above, left, in an enchanting and filthy scene in which van Gogh recites a Toulouse-Lautrec limerick, complete with dirty visuals).
Cohen Film Collection, Van Gogh hits the street today, Tuesday, July 12, on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray contains two discs -- one of the film itself, the second featuring interviews with actors Dutronc and LeCoq, its cinematographer, and French director and fan of the film Xavier Giannoli (of Marguerite fame).