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Thread: At Eternity's Gate

  1. #1
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Queens, NYC

    At Eternity's Gate

    Watched this one yesterday.

    It was an interesting film. I was expecting much more of a conventional bio-pic - this is not that. In the extras the it's described as 'a film about art and a man obsessed with art by a man obsessed with art' (I'm paraphrasing) and that sums it up well.

    I am not a Van Gogh expert by any stretch but have always appreciated his work. When I was a kid my grandmother had books of his stuff in her apartment that I would look at (there wasn't much else to do at their place but I always liked those books). The ending goes with the more recent 'he was murdered' theory rather than the more accepted 'he killed himself' theory, which I thought was interesting (and which I think makes more sense - after doing 20 minutes of research yesterday I can safely say!).

    Dafoe is excellent in it, but he's excellent in most things these days. He's taken some very interesting roles the last few years and I think it's because he was so damn good in The Lighthouse, which we watched a few days prior, that this got pulled off the shelf.

    Supporting work from Mads is fine, he's in it for about 5 minutes. Oscar Isaac is also quite good.

    It's a very calm, slow and pretty film in a lot of ways, even as it deals with madness in others.
    Rock! Shock! Pop!

  2. #2
    Girl Boss Jane Alison Jane's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    I enjoyed it a lot. I wanted it to be longer! I wanted more of his background story. And yeah, have always really liked Dafoe. The Lighthouse was great too.

  3. #3
    One of 2018's best films.

    Vincent Van Gogh is an artist seemingly tailor made for the movies - the brilliance, the madness, the short tragic life unappreciated in his time and....the ear! (the first I ever heard of Van Gogh was in elementary school. An artist so intense he cut his own ear off!? Cool!). Coming off last year's brilliantly animated LOVING VINCENT, comes the latest entry in the Van Gogh filmography, AT ETERNITY'S GATE.
    Played by Willem Dafoe, this Van Gogh isn't given the traditional bio-pic treatment. It focuses on the last few months of the painter's life. The main details are there (including, yes, the ear incident), as are the characters such as Paul Gaugin (Oscar Isaac), Dr. Gachet (Mathieu Almaric) and, of course, his beloved brother Theo (Rupert Friend). Director Julian Schnabel (DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, BEFORE NIGHT FALLS) and his co-writers including the esteemed Jean-Claude Carriere (who's worked with the likes of Bunuel, Schlondorff, Godard and Wadja) give us more an impressionist* treatment. Abetted by Cinematographer Benoit Delhomme, we get a kaleidoscope of images, sounds and visions. Delhomme's hand-held camera-work takes some getting used to, and, quite frankly, can be a bit distracting at times (the demands supposedly forced the camera operator to give up on the opening shot and Delhomme had to operate himself!). Tatiana Livoskaia's minimalist score adds to the disjointed perspective.
    Schnabel's fragmented style doesn't give the actors much room to breathe, but Dafoe et al. acquit themselves capably. The cumulative effect will certainly not be to everyone's taste (particularly those desiring a traditional biography), but, GATE is a vivid impression of what those final months may have been like. One artist's vision of another's.

    * In the movie, Van Gogh and Gaugin discuss how they are more modernist than the classic school of Impressionism. They are often termed Post-Impressionist painters.


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