‘The Famous Artist’: A film that explores the ingenuity of a poor mind
In the first shot of The Great Artist by Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, the circular character initiates chaos, later disintegrating as the 23-minute short film continues.
Crescendo introduces us to Matthew Postlethwaite’s ‘Great Artist,’ the main character, as he closes his way to an art exhibition, which seems to stand out. A few minutes later, he pretends to introduce a small part of his personality to a sharp audience.
Fragments of her conversation with her therapist are playful, revealing details about her troubled life, especially dealing with the star and her swedge in ‘greatness.’
“I did not want to go; a lot of people there, I don’t connect with them… [I went because] I don’t want to disappoint anyone.”
The Great Artist, currently screened at the Yellowstone International Film Festival, provides a stormy view to the mind of a gifted person. It creates an uncomfortable clock – a bullet that jumps between complex minds that fight the idea of greatness and that you have to fight the demons instead.
It was discovered early on that Postlethwaite’s Great Artist is one of his dynamic details. He experiences Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Moreover, his gift of art suddenly hangs within his uncomfortable mind.
Inside, there is commotion, and on the outside, it must be accompanied by the illusion that it is well integrated. Postlethwaite, therefore, did an excellent job of walking with a rope hanging from side to side, maintaining the balance between making world-class art and suffering silently as a prisoner inside his head.
In one of the scenes, he plays with fear and his therapist, looking into his eyes before preferring to kiss. Also, for some, as a baby gets older, they will outgrow this.
In his moments of danger, he finds himself painting, making fine art, allowing all of his personality to come out one by one. He is a lover, madly attached to his girlfriend Angela , whom he calls “his image.” She contributes to her artistic work in their all-inclusive relationship.
She’s also a woman – sitting at a window, drinking her tea, and making a picture of herself. She’s a child with a completely different view of art.
When he paints, he lets his identity shine, knowing full well that the Great Artist – the one who eventually presents works of art in the world – is a collection of every one of them.
There is deep space, fear coming from his eyes. Postlethwaite, who produced the short and written a play, seems to convey that he feels trapped, as if he is a fraud, hiding his status and asking for help.
Matthew Postlethwaite’s ‘Great Artist’ is a gifted man who finds himself feeling cheated.
His team is unaware of his suffering. His director Perry, presented by Marimar Vega, states, “all stars need darkness to shine,” referring to the fact that the artist’s isolation is the result of his mental suffering, which he eventually admits.
“With great skill there must be suffering.”
It’s a truly glorious climax – the one that made the film was considered the Live Action Short Film shortlist of the 93rd Academy Awards. The Great Artist delivers himself and his personality from great suffering that enables them to make art, allowing medical intervention instead.
At the moment, he loves freedom.
In a world still plagued by mental health issues, the Great Artist paints a grim picture of a closed mind. It’s not a new trope – M Night Shyamalan had previously explored DID in his film, Split – but with an important comment on trauma.
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