Paintings Inspire Stories: A Series of Short Films of Varyin
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"PICTURE WINDOWS is a 1994 Showtime television series now available on CD. The concept for the series was to focus on five well-known paintings and give five writers and directors the opportunity to enter the canvas and create a story stimulated by their response to the painting. Sometimes it works well, sometimes the connection between the painting and the story is so tangential that the stimulus is shaky, but in all this is a nice and potentially clever way to approach art.
One of the more successful of the films is 'Two Nudes Bathing', an exploration of the situation of this famous image by an anonymous artist of two women at bath, one touching the nipple of the other while maintaining eye contact with the painter. John Boorman brings the canvas to life as a history of the work: painter Henri (Charley Boorman) has been hired by a wealthy man (John Hurt) to paint his daughters and during the course of the painting Henri introduces the daughters to the concept of passion and love. Based on David Hockney's pool painting, Armed Response by Bob Rafelson begins with a young man (James Calvert) swimming in his parents (Robert Loggia and Cynthia Preston) and after an invasion by an apparent drifter (Steve Zahn), the father and son discover secrets hidden behind their artful home and the enigma posed by the Hockney painting is mimicked.
'Language of the Heart' is based on a Degas painting of ballerinas at rehearsal and the story concerns the focus of an impresario (Michael Lerner) on a particular ballerina who has fallen in love with a street musician: the manner in which each of these people fulfill their needs for love and recognition is well served by a cinematically beautiful rendering. 'Soir Bleu' by Norman Jewison deals with a sad itinerant circus love affair, 'Song of Songs' by Peter Bogdanovich is a love triangle, and 'Lightning' is by Joe Dante.
While some of the short films are a bit clumsy, the good ones are well worth watching. The problem with the CD is that not all of them come with 2 discs, so watch for that factor when buying or renting. Grady Harp, July 07