Van Gogh | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This revisionist look at the last 67 days of Vincent van Gogh's life by the highly talented writer-director Maurice Pialat (La gueule ouverte, A nos amours, Under the Sun of Satan) shows the painter's existence--including his sex life--to be a lot happier than is generally depicted. For starters, singer-songwriter-actor Jacques Dutronc--the "Bob Dylan of Paris" and the lead in Godard's Every Man for Himself--plays the title part. But while it's ironic that this 155-minute French art movie should be much sunnier than Vincente Minnelli's or Robert Altman's films on the same subject, it certainly qualifies as a personal work. (The period re-creations of Jean Renoir and John Ford remain the key reference points.) While the results shed little light on van Gogh's painting, the mise en scene and the period flavor are both well worth attending to. With Alexandra London, Gerard Sety, Bernard le Coq, Corinne Bourdon, and Elsa Zylberstein (1990). (Music Box, Friday through Thursday, March 5 through 11)

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