Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Gauguin — Voyage de Tahiti **

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 9th January, 2018

GauguinArtists often make wonderful subjects for biopics. Gilles Bourdos’s Renoir (2012), for example, was marvellously evocative of both time and place, as well as a sharp portrait of the man at work, and Kobiela & Welchman’s animated treatment of Van Gogh, Loving Vincent, was one of the highlights of last year. So I watched Edouard Deluc’s Gauguin — Voyage de Tahiti  with eager anticipation. But what a disappointment! After some rather loud and clumsy intimations of gai Paris during the Belle Epoque, the action suddenly shifts a rain-sodden Polynesia where the heavily made-up and bearded actor, Vincent Cassel, makes a grumpy and frankly unconvincing job of Paul Gauguin as unappreciated genius and part-time stevedore. Malik Zidi makes a better fist of it as his sympathetic friend, Henri Vallin, but although Tuhei Adams certainly looks the part of Gauguin’s Tahitian mistress, Tehura, half the time she appears as if she would rather be somewhere else. Weirdest of all, given that the principal subject was revolutionary in his use of bright colour, very little in the film is colourful or even sunlit. Indeed, at times it is almost funereal in its gloom. It could so easily have been a bird of paradise, but in fact turned out to be a turkey.


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