At Eternity’s Gate
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At Eternity’s Gate

It is very debatable that a cinematographic portrait of Vincent van Gogh is needed at this point, and not only because for some time the Dutch stopped The Resistance Banker being just one of the most famous painters to become a phenomenon of mass consumption, but because they already exist several films about his figure, among them El loco del pelo rojo, by Vincente Minnelli (1956), and Van Gogh, by Maurice Pialat (1991). It is also true that At eternity’s gate, presented this Monday at the Mostra competition, is the first of them whose director has a prolific career in the world of painting. Mara On paper, that makes it an exceptionally authoritative voice.

In fact, while observing the progressive psychological breakdown of its protagonist Vox Lux incarnated by Willem Dafoe, whose physical resemblance is amazing – during the two years he spent in Arles (France), Julian Schnabel does something that neither Minnelli nor Pialat considered convenient: show us repeatedly to the painter in the process of creation. And it is important because in van Gogh’s madness there are indispensable components to understand his genius, in the same way that in his genius there are specific features of his madness.

The problem is that the film does not accompany those images of more reflection on his work than what On Her Shoulders any spectator with a certain general culture will already know in advance: that the Dutch felt a great attachment to the landscape -Schnabel shows us smearing his face with earth and extending his arms in the middle of a wheatfield – and that his activity was feverish. When he died at 37 he had created some 2100 works of art. It says the entry on Van Gogh in the Wikipedia, in which At eternity’s gate seems to have been based not only in terms of narrative content but also of psychological depth.

After all, his main method of communicating the painter’s schizophrenia is to make him say things like Wonder Woman 1984 “sometimes I feel like I lose my mind”. In fact, he is the madman most aware of his illness and articulated about it that the cinema remembers. It is surprising, considering his background in the world of visual arts, that Schnabel is not able to enter the psyche of Van Gogh alone with images or that, ultimately, he uses the inevitable visual flourishes that the film includes more than to make beautiful.

Duration: 110 min

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IMDb: N/A

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At Eternity’s Gate
At Eternity’s Gate
At Eternity’s Gate