Painter JMW Turner, new film

This video is called MR. TURNER – OFFICIAL TRAILER.

By Jeff Sawtell in Britain:

Turner‘s trials and triumphs

Friday 31st October 2014

Mike Leigh’s film on a great Victorian painter is an outstanding biopic, says Jeff Sawtell

Mr Turner (15), directed by Mike Leigh

Artists are awkward creatures, especially when they refuse to follow fashion and cultivate their own field, regardless of style and taste.

One such seminal revolutionary was JMW Turner, who transcended the period of Britain’s rise to empire and the consequences of the industrial revolution.

That’s not entirely dissimilar to director Mike Leigh today, whose brand of critical realism has concentrated on the casualties of England’s waning capitalist power.

Like William Hogarth, the scion of English hypocrisy, Turner (Timothy Spall) increasingly saw the failings of a system founded on exploitation, not least slavery.

Having set up his home as studio and gallery, he established his pre-eminence, turning his eye to land and and sea paintings.

He was so committed to the truthfulness of his art that he even got himself roped to a mast to experience the realities of a storm.

Considering himself an artisan, he became the thorn in the side of the English establishment and was considered too radical for the National Gallery.

At the film’s opening we observe him, a small and rotund man with a stovepipe hat, sketching a Dutch windmill while two women comment on his observations.

He’s at home with his beloved “daddy” (Paul Jessom) and ever-loving housekeeper Hannah (Dorothy Atkinson), who satisfies his lust.

Constantly harassed by his first wife (Ruth Sheen) and family, he is forever travelling until he discovers a haven in Margate with Mrs Booth (Marion Bailey).

These tableaux of his life are interspersed by his quest for inspiration — most notably realised in the canvases Fingal’s Cave, The Fighting Temeraire and Rain, Steam and Power.

Most importantly, we’re given a demonstration of his technique as he works canvases over with whatever comes to hand, applying plenty of spit and polish.

Typically, he upstages the serious John Constable (James Fleet) with a fleck of red paint. Yet, later, he weeps for one of his dead children.

Spall plays him straight as a blunt Cockney, yet he stuns and awes all those who view his sublime paintings.

Sadly, the young John Ruskin (Joshua McQuire) — the most prominent champion of his work — is characterised as a camp fop.

Otherwise, we’re introduced to a galaxy of personalities, from gentry and artists to working men and women, who are played by a great cast of British character actors.

It’s a pity it took 200 years for Turner to be provided with a gallery for the 300 works he bequeathed to the nation, so that we can view them gratis.

Yet another reason to resist museum charges.

6 thoughts on “Painter JMW Turner, new film

  1. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award, thanks Barbara! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: JMW Turner, filmed by Mike Leigh | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Mr. Turner, film by Mike Leigh | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  5. Pingback: J.M.W. Turner art exhibition in Canada | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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