SERAPHINE centers on Séraphine de Senlis (Yolande Moreau), a simple housekeeper whose brilliantly colorful canvases adorn some of the most famous galleries in the world. Wilhelm Uhde, a German art critic and collector (Ulrich Ukur) discovers her paintings while she is working for him as a maid in Senlis near Paris in the early part of the 20th century. Martin Provost s fictionalized and tragic portrait of this forgotten painter is a testament to creativity and the resilience of one woman s spirit. In 1913, the German collector Wilhelm Uhde, the first Picasso buyer and discoverer of acclaimed naïve primitive painter Le Douanier Rousseau, rents an apartment in Senlis in order to write and take a break from his Parisian life. He hires a cleaning lady, Séraphine, 48 years old. Some time later, while visiting the home of a prominent local family, he notices a small painting on wood. His surprise is great when he finds out that it is by none other than Séraphine. A poignant and unexpected relationship then develops between the avant-garde art dealer and the visionary cleaning lady.
Exceptional...refuses to capitulate to the ordinary and the expected...the long French tradition of thoughtful, intelligent films of quality for adults is alive and well here, and that is reason to rejoice. --Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
The best movie made about a painter since Maurice Pialat s exquisite Van Gogh in 1991 and one of the only ones that truly grasps how close artistic genius dwells to the realm of madness. --Scott Foundas, Los Angeles Weekly
4 STARS! Miraculous. --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times