Edvard Munch is a biopic of the life of the Norwegian Expressionist painter of The Scream. It is written and directed by Peter Watkins, who also provides the voiceover for the film.
It is brought to us by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema collection #139. This is the extended version and also includes an 80 page booklet with a Peter Watkins self-interview, writing by Joseph Gomez, a Munch timeline, and numerous artworks.
It takes a very unique approach to film-making. It tells us of the life of Edvard Munch, from the death of his mother and sister, through his own near death from pulmonary hemorrhage, the effects on his life of his affair with Mrs. Heiberg and of course his painting.
He was heavily involved with the Bohemians of Kristiania, lead by Jaeger, an anarchistic group who met in the local wine bar and of whom his father heartily disapproved.
Peter Watkins examines all of these through a fragmented timeline, skipping from childhood to adult life, to teenage years with baffling regularity. The voice over which he himself provides consists of excerpts from Munch’s own diaries, heard here for the first time.
It offers barrels of insight into the psyche of this famous and much maligned artist, revealing his own thoughts on the world of fragmented class systems, poverty and child labour in which he found himself.
Actors portray his family, friends and associates and of course Munch at his various ages. It is very well cast and the acting is good, however, probably due to the setting, the whole thing is just dismal.
I’m sure in terms of education it’s wonderful, but I wouldn’t describe it as entertainment. If you are a serious art fanatic and especially a fan of Edvard Munch then you should certainly include this in your investigations. It’s probably a bit too intense for the casual observer.
“Illness, insanity and death were the black angels that kept watch over my cradle and accompanied me all my life.”
Edvard Munch is available to buy now on Blu-ray.