2008 | Docudrama | 125 minutes | French and German with English subtitles
A surprise winner of seven Césars (the French Oscars), including Best Film, Séraphine is about a middle-aged housekeeper who has a remarkable talent for painting. In her small apartment, by candlelight, with religious inspiration, Séraphine creates awesome pictures of trees, flowers, the earth. The man running the household, Wilhelm Uhde, a noted art collector, notices Séraphine’s paintings and is impressed. Wilhelm assures Séraphine that she has talent and he will promote her paintings. In 1914, World War I breaks out and Wilhelm, a German national, is forced to flee. He gives Séraphine money and asks her to stay and continue painting. When Wilhelm returns after the war, he’s amazed how much improved are her paintings He gives her a monthly stipend with instructions to stop doing housework and solely paint. But the economic depression sets in and Wilhelm cannot sell any of her paintings. A devastated Sérphanie has a mental breakdown and is taken to a state institution. Wilhelm comes to her rescue as her paintings begin to sell. She is now able to go outside and enjoy the beauties of nature once again. Séraphine’s paintings grace several major museums around the world.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 88%
- Metacritic Score: 84
- César Awards: Winner, Best Film; Best Actress (Yolande Moreau); Best Director (Martin Provost)
National Society of Film Critics: Winner, Best Actress (Yolande Moreau)
Scottsdale International Film Festival: Winner, Best Director (Martin Provost)
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The great achievement of SERAPHINE is how it concentrates not on the artist’s work or biography, but how deeply and credibly it probes into the artist’s troubled yet feverishly inspired mind.
SERAPHINE‘S energies are devoted, for the most part, not to dissecting childhood traumas or recirculating stale cultural gossip, but rather to examining the alchemy by which perception is transformed into vision. Ms. Moreau’s performance is passionate, humorous and heartbreaking.
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