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Rodin

Deep into Rodin, Jacques Doillon’s satisfying portrait of the famed French sculptor, a group of stuffy sponsors circles Auguste Rodin’s almost completed statue of Balzac. Rodin has given the writer an enormous gut, and although the work bristles with vital physicality, it’s a long way from the heroic dignity the visitors were expecting. No one present, Rodin included, grasps the fact that they’re witnessing a sea change in modern art.

Poster for the biography Rodin, starring Vincent Lindon as Auguste RodinWe first meet Rodin (Vincent Lindon), smocked and extravagantly bearded, at age 40, feeling his way into new ways of working with his beloved clay, the most malleable of materials. The movie is less a biopic than an inquiry into the man, his art, and his loves, in no particular order and all tangled up in his seven-year struggle to bring the Balzac project to fruition.

Rodin had a tempestuous ten-year affair with Camille Claudel (played with verve by Izïa Higelin), his student, then his assistant and lover, and finally his rival. The camera wheels and turns around these two enormous egos, both passionately sexual and creative, both emotionally labile.

Most movies about artists tiptoe reverentially around the art and focus instead on the tortured life. Rodin is very much about the work, zeroing in on the creative process with the same obsessive care it devotes to the artist’s volatile love life.

– Ella Taylor, NPR


Paris, 1880. Auguste Rodin (interprété à la perfection par Vincent Lindon, exceptionnel) reçoit à 40 ans sa première commande de l’État : ’La Porte de L’Enfer’. Il partage sa vie avec Rose (Séverine Caneele) lorsqu’il rencontre la jeune Camille Claudel, qui devient vite son assistante, puis sa maîtresse. Camille (Izïa Higelin) pense l’aimer d’un amour fou, lui connaît depuis longtemps son penchant d’ogre à femmes et ne semble pas s’embarrasser d’une telle question.

Dix ans de passion, mais également dix ans d’admiration commune et de complicité. Après leur rupture, Rodin poursuit son travail avec acharnement, faisant face au refus et à l’enthousiasme que la sensualité de sa sculpture provoque. Haletant comme un boxeur sur le ring, tantôt brusque, tantôt passionné, Rodin s’affaire à ses sculptures comme si sa vie en dépendait.

Quête du beau universelle et insatiable qui ne connaît de dénouement qu’avec la sortie à l’air libre de la statue mal-aimée de Balzac – fracture cathartique et point de départ incontesté de la sculpture moderne.

– Alexandre Jourdain, A Voir, A Lire

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