Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Original title: El Artista Y La Modelo
Spain/France, 2012. Fernando Trueba Producciones Cinematográficas, Televisión Española, Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales, Instituto de Crédito Oficial, Audiovisual Aval SGR. Screenplay by Jean-Claude Carriere, Fernando Trueba. Cinematography by Daniel Vilar. Production Design by Pilar Revuelta. Costume Design by Lala Huete. Film Editing by Marta Velasco.
A Spanish girl emerges from the bushes on the French side of the border in 1943 and happens upon the country home of an aging sculptor (Jean Rochefort) and his former model wife (Claudia Cardinale). She needs money and a place to stay, so she begins to pose for the artist, and as time passes we learn that the cut marks on her legs are from the tree branches she scrapes against while helping people escape Nazi occupation at night. Shot in soft monochrome and featuring a better cast than it necessarily deserves, this dramatically weak indulgence boasts intelligent dialogue and acting but lacks flavor. There is neither an illicit connection that appears between the title’s figures, nor is there more than a slight hint of danger for the complicated political situation surrounding their pure pursuit of artistic expression; it’s a film determined to avoid dramatic conflict, Cardinale particularly wasted as the former beauty who seems to have no qualms with life whatsoever, and as a result is pleasant and easy to watch but hardly satisfying or notable.