Opening 26 Dec 2013
Director Fernando Trueba and scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carrière collaborated on this enjoyable black and white film about a sculptor and his model. Eighty-year-old Marc (Fernando Rochefort) lives in a French village near the Spanish border. It is 1943 and France is still under German occupation. He hasn’t worked in his studio for years. One day his wife Léa (Claudia Cardinale) spots Mercè (Aida Folch), a destitute Catalonian refugee that she knows would be a perfect model and much-needed inspiration for her husband. Reluctantly and with apparent suspicions about nude modeling, the young woman agrees to sit for Marc in exchange for food and shelter. Little by little Mercè – a perfectly cast Aida Folch looking like a work by Matisse or Maillol come-to-life – loses her inhibitions.
The camera (Daniel Vilar) treats Mercè’s nudity with utmost respect while admiring her curves and conveys insight in the relationship between ‘artist’ and ‘model’ and ‘inspiration’. Black and white serves this film well: not only are we easily transported back to the 1940s, but the focus is on ‘shape’ rather than ‘color’ – as it would be important to this sculptor, whose preferred medium, white plaster, is showcased by this choice as well. Compliments go also to the sound department (Pierre Gamet) that made the sounds of ordinary life (steps on dusty wooden boards or on the stone floor of the studio, for example) a ‘feast for the ear’. (Carola A)