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Magritte - An Attempt at the Impossible

 NR |  DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 55 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KN7C26
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,183 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The works of the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte are unquestionably among the most recognizable images of the twentieth century. Magritte¹s paintings create a surreal vision, utilizing familiar objects such as apples, cigars, birds, pipes, and bowler hats. This intriguing program explores Magritte¹s world, and presents many of the fascinating images created by this extraordinary artist.

Magritte was born in Lessines, Belgium in 1898. He studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. His first one-man exhibition was in Brussels in 1927. As one of the most important surrealist painters, Magritte's dream-like images combine a realistic technique with an "absurd" consciousness to convey the terror of an incomprehensible world. He used the juxtaposition of ordinary objects and the precision of his technique to create feelings of unrest in the viewer. The unusual titles of his paintings rarely describe the actual subject matter, but serve to add new dimensions to his work. This juxtaposition is frequently termed magic realism, of which Magritte was the prime exponent.

Magritte's work was first exhibited in the United States in New York City in 1936. He also had two retrospectives in New York, one at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965, and the other at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992. René Magritte died in 1967.

Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a prolific artist March 15, 2008
Above all, this is not a boring slideshow lecture. The narrator states that Magritte didn't like the word "dreamlike." However, that is the obvious adjective that comes to mind and this documentary tries to be as dreamlike as his oeuvre. If you liked Taymor's "Frida" or Madonna's "Bedtime Story," then you should like this. The company's installation on multi-genre artist Jean Cocteau had the same quality.

Surprisingly, the work doesn't pay much attention to "Ceci n'est pas une pipe." Also, the painter's childhood only comes up mid-way into the work. The narrator sometimes mispronounces French words. The work says Magritte married one woman and almost only used her for posing. I'm so used to hearing about the womanizing of famous artists, oops and politicians, that it was shocking to hear of a famous man being so faithful. The narrator said the couple had no children and I wish it was explained why. Was it by choice, inattention, or infertility?

So many artists have left us few works. Vermeer, Frida Kahlo, Edmonia Lewis, and others come to mind. However, this work says Magritte painted each day for 40 years. He had a detested "cow period" of which I never knew. When I was in college, almost every student had a poster by Dali, a Magritte contemporary, on her or his wall. I'm surprised that Magritte's work has not been equally embraced as it is just as imaginative and allows one's mind to wonder.

Magritte said his work had no meaning. "The only thing behind it is the wall." I'm not sure if that was a lie on his part. Remember how people said "Seinfeld" was "a show about nothing"? Magritte's statement leaves me similarly skeptical.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Magritte video - not suitable for school viewing March 24, 2011
By Amy
Verified Purchase
I ordered this DVD to supplement my surrealism project I teach to my art students. Good thing I watched it first! Magritte has SO many cool works of art....and yet the focus in this movie seems to be on his nude paintings. Several times the camera even zooms in for a closeup of the breasts!! I'm not a prude by any means, but come on. A couple of times they even showed a live nude woman....and I have no idea why they needed to do that. Shock value?

Anyway, it's a useless video for my classroom. THe only views of the majority of his works are in passing in several art museum shots from far away. Crazy.

Would not advise this for a classroom viewing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good try! January 11, 2011
Verified Purchase
Magritte is such a powerful character and this video tries too hard to create something artsy. I mean a simple recollection of his life with a lot of time spend showing his painting (and more of his painting) would have suffice to make it a great watch, but instead the video team try to pierce the Magritte symbolism, as if the viewer couldn't think for themselves.

Still a interesting piece for Magritte fan.
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