The Journey with Jesus: Film Reviews

Film Reviews by Dan Clendenin

Séraphine (2008)—FrenchSéraphine (2008)—French

In this dramatization of a true story, during the summer of 1914 the famous German art critic and collector Wilhelm Uhde rents a home in the French countryside. Three times a week a frumpy and eccentric housekeeper named Séraphine attends to his cooking and cleaning. In a twist of fate, Uhde learns that the peasant woman not only paints at night, but that she's a savant following her religious visions, voices and votive candles. Germany's invasion of France separates the two for 10 years. Then fate strikes again, when Uhde's sister reads an article in a paper about an exhibition of local artists in Séraphine's home village of Senlis. He assumes that she's dead, but the patron and peasant reconnect, and plan a Paris exhibition. But Séraphine's eccentricities turn into insanity; she is forcibly removed to an asylum until her death in 1942, cared for by the ongoing generosity of Uhde. Today her paintings are in museums around the world. The film is long, simple and slow-moving at 131 minutes, but in 2008 it won seven César awards, including best actress and best picture. In French with English subtitles.