Canadian Painting

film 3 of 5


Film Review by Dean Duncan Mar 2, 2015

What an opening shot! A lot of this film is devoted to goodish, pretty plummy art critical narration. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing very lasting either. Much more impressive is how the producers add ethno-dramatic or neo-realistic method to the educational stuff. Mr. F.H. Varley himself is an actor in his own film, which gives him business and marks and motivation and everything. He looks great, with his scarred and haunted and humourous face. And the fact that the cinematic contrivance takes place in his own space, surrounded by the implements of his own labour and artistry, all adds up to something very special indeed. The film stock they were using is also wonderful, full of vivid, non-technicolor tones that really favour both paintings and settings.

On Varley, from the National Gallery of Canada:

Here’s the movie: