An artist’s life, be it artistic or literary, has for many directors presented itself as an ideal narrative. Unfortunately many of these biopic spend far too much time adhering steadfastly to key events and facts, whilst demonstrating very little of the creative power of the artist at the core. Alternatively, they attempt to present the creative process onscreen with misguided almost religious reverence, which ultimately makes for less than engaging viewing.
For me, the only film thus far to successfully capture the creative process is Jane Campion’s sublime Bright Star in which she skilfully counterbalances Keats’ creative process with the surrounding nature, as well as the more earthly renderings of Fanny Brawne’s needlework.
Mr Turner starring Timothy Spall and directed by Mike Leigh, looks set to depict its central artist in a similar manner; admiration for the genius of his artistic form without bordering on naive veneration. Spall seems to imbue his Turner with a keen awareness of the way that his work is received, whilst ensuring that his ultimate creation is solely his own unique vision.
Personally, I have very little interest in the actual details of a person’s life, but rather desire to see some representation of their very individual creative process. Spall spent a considerable amount of time training in order to replicate Turner’s work onscreen and I can only hope that this dedication rewards itself in the form of a worthy addition to capturing a moment in an artist’s life.