Starring Josh Cara, Olivia Luccardi,Paul Cooper
Directed by Michael Walker
Films set in the art world often strain for intellectual effect. Here is a rarity . A light-to-the-touch but never over-simplified film about young painters who discover a whole universe of deception, heartbreak and selfawareness through some painful experiences that perhaps they can laugh about in hindsight. Given the circumstances these experiences are anything but amusing when they are happening.
So we have Dan(Josh Cara) who goes up earnestly to his mother and asks her to pose nude for him. This outrageously incestuous move would apparently liberate Dan from inhibitions. Dan’s mother (played with persuasive vigour by Amy Hargreaves) is naturally shocked by this unnatural request. The mother and son finally agree with damaging repercussions,that she would pose nude for photographers taken by Dan’s friend which he can use for his painting.
If you can swallow this fairly unconventional pitch on the art of parenting while parenting the artiste, then the rest of the film sinks its sharp teeth into your senses gently but firmly.
Dan’s friend Quinn(Paul Cooper) agrees quite happily(quite understandably) to take nude pictures of Dan’s mom.During this embarrassing exercise the inevitable happens. Yes, this is how unconventional the art world is,or rather would like to be.
This daintily crafted movie directed by Michael Walker(remember his film Chasing Sleep which did to the thriller what Paint does to the satirical drama, turn the rules inside-out) is never short of breath even as the plot stretches itself out to encompass the extreme outer edges of the frame that designates the boundaries of the art world.
I still haven’t told you about the film’s third young protagonist. Saving the best for the last. She is Kelsey Fricke (Olivia Luccardi) struggling to make ends meet and to give relevance to those strokes on the canvas. In no time at all disillusionment sets in. Kesley discovers that the old painter she admires is nothing but a thief.
I found the whole relationship between Kesley and the exploitative art dealer Brett(Vince Nappo) suffused in the scent of mutual exploitation. All the major relationships in the film are defined by the opposition between creativity and commerce. Just where does art end and self-indulgence begin?
Thankfully this film doesn’t need to answer that question. It is maturely constructed but always fun right till the end. Some of the language is graphic. But we get the point even when the characters are caught in compromising positions. Life for the art student is not easy. The education never ends. It is never about the canvas and the brush. There is always a story behind every painting that we see hanging on the wall of life.
A word about the sparkling performances. All three young protagonists are played with feeling and humour. Performing a difficult role as a mother put in a compromising position Leslie Hargreaves brings bold shades to her character’s canvas.As for David Patrick Kelly, he is a hoot as an impossibly aged painter of renown, whom one of the protagonist decides to have sex with. I thought the old man would simply conk off at the excitement. He does worse. Paint never disappoints, even when its characters let themselves down.