Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Art and the folk who make it, sell it and buy it get a good going-over in Michael Walker's terrific little indie, PAINT

The best movie about art that I have seen in a long, long time, PAINT, written and directed by Michael Walker, plays fast and fair with all its characters -- most of whom are all too hypocritically human and a little too full of  themselves -- from the Pratt students determined to make great art and their cynical professor to the older successful artist, and especially the people who sell that art, along with the wealthy public that buys it. 

Paint may be a comedy -- much of it is gleefully funny -- but it is also serious about the desire to create art, where this comes from and how it is manipulated every which way on its journey from imagination to creation to sale (or not). The beauty and surprise Mr. Walker (the filmmaker is shown at right) has in store comes from his understanding that this need to create is genuine -- even if, especially if, the creators are often so unformed and clueless that they unable, at this point in their life and career, to achieve anything resembling their best impulses and ideas.

So these three art students/friends, played by (above, left to right) Olivia LuccardiJosh Caras and Paul Cooper, bumble along in art, life, love, sex, theft, marketing and much else, and that bumbling is often so much fun that anyone genuinely interested in art and/or creativity will want to come along for the ride. 

The filmmaker mixes in young and old artists (the wonderful David Patrick Kelly plays the funniest and maybe smartest character in the film), students and teachers (Austin Pendleton, above, gets a lovely rant early on in the film), parents and children, buyers and sellers -- and all to great effect. His plotting and pacing are as much fun as his people, so that the 95 minutes whiz by in no time.

As one of our main character notes early on, "Is it my fault I haven't suffered? I just think there's more to life that that!" But what? And so he comes up with an idea -- oh, my! --  that is indeed something rather new, and then he gets his best buddy to help him. Which leads to a lot more fun and games at the same time that the female in this crew is finding her own success via a road not so often taken, at least not via the very amusing route we have here.

Along the way filmmaker Walker fills us in on all kinds of art theft, even as he gives us a group of characters who, for all their insecurities, occasional nastiness and naivete, are rather sweet, fun and almost always funny. 

The third wheel in this group finds his own way of connecting to the art world and its wonders (including sex), and the film's finale could hardly be bettered, giving us not just a sudden and surprising look at another kind of  "real" art, but also showing us the unintended consequences that creativity can sometimes bring. 

From Gravitas Ventures (though I dare you to try to find it on the firm's web site), Paint was released via VOD on most major platforms last week. It is definitely worth a watch, as it introduces quite a raft of talent -- in front of and behind the camera. Click here and/or here for more information.

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