(1974), Peter Watkins's telling of Munch's life and work, is gorgeous and heartrending, and an effective rebuttal to anyone who claims the media-critiquing filmmaker could never put across beauty or emotion. The Norwegian painter's expressionist techniques, hypersensitive torments, sickly family, and consuming love affair are related and interrelated through an obsessive fugue of edits rivaling Resnais. Watkins layers in diary excerpts as well as contemporary jibes and 19th-century class context (which, along with the sardonic lilt of the voiceover, slots the film comfily in his analytical oeuvre). A recurring motif: the artist tormentedly staring out at us.
The film screens tomorrow night at 8:30pm, next Wednesday at 7:30pm, and August 1st at 5pm at Anthology Film Archives, as part of their "Anti-Biopics" series.