Rodin Screen 5 articles



Rodin Poster
  • Jacques Doillon’s suffocatingly dull and didactic artist biopic “Rodin” must surely rank near the bottom of the list for everyone who saw it. Slow, taxing films are par for the course at a major international film festival, but this inexplicable competition entry is the rare experience to which watching clay dry would be infinitely preferable.

  • It’s all the more unfortunate that this new biopic often feels as stiff and lifeless as an old slab of marble. Starring Vincent Lindon, who gives a physically imposing performance undercut by the film’s array of risible, borderline insufferable dialogue, Rodin at best provides insight into the great artist’s working methods... But at worst, this stagy succession of scenes... is a lumbering affair that never builds into a gripping, let alone complex, portrait of the man or his time.

  • It’s baffling that Jacques Doillon’s “Rodin” was granted one of the main-competition slots. A handsomely mounted waxworks, it might have made sense as an out-of-competition attraction, good for its red-carpet value and that’s about it. The best that can be said of it is that its title subject — a male genius who uses and abuses women, some with very contemporary-looking bikini waxing — makes a fitting film-industry allegory.

  • For me, the staid timidity of Rodin, at odds with the rest of Doillon’s œuvre, elicited sadness more than opprobrium, sadness, that is, that one of France’s great directors has been reduced to turning out commissioned pieces that garner financing for eminently non-cinematic reasons (2017 is the centenary of Rodin’s death, it turns out), rather than being given the opportunity to develop his own idiosyncratic œuvre.

  • Seen in the context of Doillon's late work, Rodin is a bit airless at times. But it does display the struggle of an artist who craves convention and security while knowing full that his art is driving him to the edges of social comprehension. Recent films such as Love Battles and Just Anybody speak to the desire to succumb to respectability, even as something lurid and untameable inside refuses to permit it. In Rodin, Doillon comes close to the Tradition of Quality, but he can't seal the deal.

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