10 Favourite Art Films

There are 100's out there but these 10 films about Art and Artists are epics, even for non-art lovers. They are in no particular order


1.       Camille Claudel. 1988

The French muse of Rodin is portrayed by Isabelle Adjani and who else could play Rodin but Depardieu. It’s a sad and a common story of the female genius who is overlooked by a male dominated world but an important figure and gripping to watch.

2.       Girl with the Pearl Earing,  2003

Scarlett Johansson plays the young servant/muse to Vermeer (Colin Firth). It’s not the story that made it great it’s the visual effects that make you feel you are in the painting the entire time or at least in Vermeers’ vision. Sumptuous.


3.       Waste Land, 2011

Seriously eye opening doco-film about Vik Muniz’s work in the biggest land fill behind Rio de Janeiro. He chronicles their lives and from it all, makes elephantine scaled art with the rubbish. Inspiring.

4.       Pollock, 2000

A charged and fast paced look at the quick-wristed painter, Jackson Pollock. Great cinematography and background scenes of American life in the 1940’s as well as a great performance by Ed Harris.

5.       The guest of Cindy Sherman, 2008

Odd but essential viewing. Made by Shermans’ husband who creates a film about his famous wife only to realise it renders him almost obsolete. 

6.       Frida, 2002

Amazing acting by Salma Hayek who shines as Frida Kahlo in all her tempestuousness and colour.

7.       Exit through the gift shop, 2010

Doco-style film about an attempt to find Banksy by a French shopkeeper and an artist. Funny, endearing and of course, subversive the whole way through.

8.       Love is the Devil. 1998

Fictionalization of Francis Bacons’ turbid love affair with the crook, George Dyer. Not a lot of daylight in this film-it’s more in the Horror section but gripping and some surprising acting by Daniel Craig, waaay before 007 blue steel face, Derek Jacobi and amazing as always, Tilda Swinton

9.       Lust for Life, 1956

Kirk Douglas is excellent as Vincent Van Gogh. It’s gritty, realistic and very entertaining.

10.   Cutie and the Boxer, 2013

A bit quirky, the film follows the two ageing, Japanese artists who live in New York. Their open dialogue is honest and touching as is their art.

Okay, 11. 

The Mill and the Cross, 2011 is worth mentioning as the fascinating Flemish painter, Bruegel is painted into this film seamlessly. Like Girl with a Pearl Earring, the film manages to enmesh the viewer into the landscape and paintings of his day. A little hypnotic.