- Director: Peter Watkins
- Writer: Peter Watkins
Considering The Scream fetched a rather high price at auction recently...Munch is in need of a makeover...
The multi-layered soundtrack is, at times, too distracting.
This may sound petty...but, it does detract from the intensity that Watkins builds.
He manages to put Munch's life into a perspective that clarifies his existence in the world-at-large.
But, this is Munch pre-1909 (he died in 1944) - and the film suffers due to the limited time span covered.
Repetition (possibly to convey Munch's constant misery) becomes like a millstone around the neck - dragging the viewer not closer but down into the gloom.
Watkins ignores his later happier life of success - a happy artist has no dramatic value.
The ending is criminal (and lazy)...but, after nearly 3 hours, Watkins is obviously tired of his own film...as is the audience.
It is an interesting, morose and monotonous account that could have easily been cut by an hour without any perceivable damage.
Following a rough chronology from 1884 to 1894, when Norwegian artist Edvard Munch began expressionism and established himself as northern Europe's most maligned and controversial artist, the film also flashes back to the death from consumption of his mother, when he was five, his sister's death, and his near death at 13 from pulmonary disease. The film finds enduring significance in Munch's brief affair with "Mrs. Heiberg" and his participation in the café society of anarchist Hans Jaeger in Christiania and later in Berlin with Strindberg. Through it all comes Munch's melancholy and his desire to render on canvas, cardboard, paper, stone, and wood his innermost feelings.