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Seraphine (English Subtitled) 2008 UNRATED

Based on the life of French painter Seraphine de Senlis. In 1914, Wilhelm Uhde, a famous German art collector, rents an apartment in the town of Senlis, forty kilometers away from Paris, in order to write and to take a rest from the hectic life he has been living in the capital. The cleaning lady is a rather rough-and-ready forty-year-old woman who is the laughing stock of others. One day, Wilhelm who has been invited by his landlady, notices a small painting lying about in her living room. He is stunned to learn that the artist is no other than Seraphine.

Yolande Moreau, Ulrich Tukur
2 hours, 6 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, International
Director Martin Provost
Starring Yolande Moreau, Ulrich Tukur
Supporting actors Anne Bennent, Geneviève Mnich, Adélaïde Leroux, Nico Rogner, Françoise Lebrun, Hélène Hardouin, Serge Larivière, Léna Breban, Sandrine Bodenes, Muriel Riou, Dominique Pozzetto, Josette Ménard, Xavier Pottier, Jean-Pascal Abribat, Anne Benoît, Corentin Lobet, Serge Gaborieau, Rosine Favey
Studio Music Box Films
MPAA rating Unrated (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert J. Crawford on July 3, 2009
One of the things that is so fun about French culture is that what would pass for an "art house" film in the US is a much anticipated event here, in particular when it celebrates a national artist. While low budget, these films are produced with the utmost reverence and seriousness, then much discussed across the media. The contrast with crassly commercial celebrity culture could not be more stark.

This is a lovely film about a working class woman who is obsessed with painting in the mid 1930s. Without training, she set about realizing her vision whenever she could afford paint. By chance, her work is discovered by an art critic. Seraphine appears homely, dirty, and unintelligent, just a pair of hands for washing. But her painting is absolutely magical, in the naive style. Under his tutelage, she gains something of a following and begins to make a living, but then the war intervenes and she loses everything, or so it seems.

The actress heroine is absolutely amazing. Though apparently simple minded, she is gifted with talent and the strength to work. You completely believe in her - indeed, it is a true story.

Recommended. The stark realism that serves an artistic idealism is a rare combination. This is a serious art and psychological film, a reminder of how good cinema can be.
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I agree with the other reviewer who noted that a film that is considered praisworthy in France (it won the Palm D'Or---the French equivalent of the Oscar) is relegated to art houses in the US. When I saw it yesterday, there was only a handfull of folks out. Quelle dommage!

This film is incredibly touching, the true story of an actual French housekeeper who, in her late 40's, while cleaning in a convent, heard her Guardian Angel tell her to paint. As a simple, devout peasant, she did what she was told, and began painting on small panels, all that she could afford. She skimped on food and coal in order to pay for white paint and varnish. She made the colors from blood, stolen from the butcher, flowers and plants and wax taken from votive candles in the church. She had no training and only painted what she loved, the flowers and trees in her beloved countryside.

Into her life, as if by the hand of the Angels, came a German art dealer who lived in nearby Paris. He was probably one of the few people on the planet at that time who would appreciate Seraphine's work. He had collected some Picassos and Braques and was interested in the paintings of Henri Rousseau and other primitives. He was amazed when he saw the small, simple painting of Seraphine's which had been left in the home of the woman for whom she cleaned house.

Thus begins the fascinating story of how these two lives intertwine. I won't spoil it for you by telling what happens. The film is beautifully told, containing much humour as well as pathos. One is drawn into the life of this amazing woman as well as of the man who discovered her genius.

Yolande Moreau, who plays Seraphine, also won a Palm D'or for her captivating performance. Ulrich Tukur is masterful, too, as the German art dealer who has his own share of personal sorrow.

I hope that this film finds a larger American audience. I urge anyone who likes fine work to see it.
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Format: DVD
A sad tale of the life of this wondrous artiste and her descent into mental illness. People around me, in a theatre, were openly crying. The acting was nothing short of Superb and the filming and scenes rare in movies today. Wish I could give it more than the Five stars!
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Format: DVD
Absorbing and beautifully made film with a compelling performance by Yolande Moreau as early 20th-century French painter Seraphine Louis. In addition to the many comments already made here by other appreciative viewers, I would add that the length of the film (2 hours) affords ample opportunity to represent the role of a single, working class woman in France during the period, 1910s-1920s. As a housekeeper and laundrywoman, paid little for her services and regarded typically with disdain by the more moneyed people for whom she works, Seraphine could easily have stepped from the pages of a Victor Hugo novel. The pastoral scenes, the great houses, the cobbled streets, and the costuming represent a world and a social order lingering on from the previous century.

The film makes clear the lot of one born poor and female into such a world. The work required to keep soul and body together is endless, grueling, and mind-numbing. Anyone else would drop from exhaustion at the end of such a day, yet with renewed energy drawn from her angelic forces and a deep love of the woods and fields, Seraphine is somehow able to paint by candlelight at night. While some viewers familiar with her story may find the film slow, what it wants us to care about is the hopelessness of a woman in her social position. Without the kindness of a handful of others and the chance discovery of her artistic gifts by a visiting German art critic and collector, Wilhelm Uhde, she would have disappeared into oblivion and all her breathtakingly inspired paintings with her.

The film also emphasizes her isolation. It underscores this theme with the parallel story of Uhde, who for unexplained reasons has retreated to this rural French town from his life in Germany.
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