This period of confinement gives you an ideal excuse to review your favorites and perfect your cultural references for when you are back out socializing! To help, we have selected our top 10 art-related films and documentaries.
In line with our vocation of empowering artists, plenty of renowned artists are of course featured in our selected films, with exciting monographs. We also offer a few thrillers to get your adrenaline pumping!
1 – Loving Vincent, Dorota Kobiela, 2017
Immerse yourself in the heart of Van Gogh’s paintings while watching this art and animation film that is far from being just for children. This new format literally dazzled me – a technical and artistic feat. The plot also fascinates you and keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
2 – The Best Offer, Giuseppe Tornatore, 2013
Enter the secret world of art dealers and renowned collectors. Expect an Italian drama with an impossible love story and a collection of female portraits, however, it is the love of art that is central to this film. This is a world full of mysteries that will not leave you disappointed.
3 – The Mystery of Picasso, Henri Georges Clouzot, 1955
Did you really think we would offer you a selection of films about art and not mention Pablo Picasso? Of course not. It also helps that this film is a masterpiece in its own right. Shot in Nice, this documentary by Henri Georges Cluzot gives you a unique opportunity to understand the creative process of the Spanish genius.
4 – Da Vinci Code, Ron Howard, 2006
From the eponymous novel, this American film (shot largely at the Louvre museum) is the perfect pick if you want a quintessential Hollywood experience. As the movie plays out, it is within the masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci that the protagonists must decipher the signs to solve the mystery of the museum curator’s death.
5 – Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, 1996
Directed 10 years after the artist’s death, the film traces the enlightened life of the pioneer of Figuration Libre and the first African American to experience success in the western contemporary art market. The fact that it is an artist biography told by another artist is what gives this documentary a special flavor.
6 – Manifesto, Julian Rosefeldt, 2018
In this unique conceptual film, the brilliant Kate Blanchett stands alone as she plays the role of 13 characters, each of which embodying an artistic manifesto (Futuristic, Dadaist etc). This is a film that tries to understand past artistic manifestos and sees where they fit within contemporary society.
7 – The Price of Everything, Nathaniel Khan, 2018
Is the contemporary art market full of mystery to you? Do you want to understand the auction records of renowned artists like Jeff Koons, Damian Hirst and Bansky, along with the workings of mega international galleries and contemporary art fairs? Well then, immerse yourself in this documentary which gathers testimonies from collectors, art dealers, auctioneers and artists to discover the underside of a market that reflects our contemporary values.
8 – The Girl with a Pearl Earring, Peter Weber, 2003
Slip into the lair of Johannes Vermeer’s creation and discover the very special relationship that links the artist to his muse. In this origin story of a masterpiece which conveys rare beauty, find yourself transported to 17th Century Delft and enter the mind of Vermeer.
9 – Woman in Gold, Simon Curtis, 2015
Inspired by a true story, the film traces the fight of a woman in Austrian courts trying to recover her family’s collection of artworks that were despoiled by the Nazis (the flagship work of the collection being the coveted Lady in Gold by Gustav Klimt, kept at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna). This is an historic and little-known affair that you should learn about immediately.
10 – Pollock, Ed Harris, 2000
To close our selection of art films, we have selected a tribute to the founder of American abstract painting. In this feature film, discover how the first star of American art endowed his country with a cultural identity through his painting.