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|Derek Jacobi||Francis Bacon|
|Daniel Craig||George Dyer|
|Tilda Swinton||Muriel Belcher|
|Anne Lambton||Isabel Rawsthorne|
|Adrian Scarborough||Daniel Farson|
|Karl Johnson||John Deakin|
|Annabel Brooks||Henrietta Moraes|
|Richard Newbold||Blond Billy|
|John Maybury||Director, Screenwriter|
|Annie Symons||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Takashi Asai||Executive Producer|
|Paul Davies||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Ben Gibson||Executive Producer|
|Patrice Haddad||Executive Producer|
|Ken Lee||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Alan Macdonald||Production Designer|
|Deborah Saban||Asst. Director|
|Ryuichi Sakamoto||Score Composer|
|Frances-Anne Solomon||Executive Producer|
Posted October 1, 2010
Returning to films remembered from the past is a fortunate aspect of owning DVDs. LOVE IS THE DEVIL: STUDY FOR A PORTRAIT OF FRANCIS BACON is an art film that belongs in the collection of all those who admire the great British artist. One of the aspects of this film that makes it so powerful is revealed in the latter part of the title: many of Bacon's paintings were names 'Studies for...' and what writer/director John Maybury has created here are the impulses or stimuli that probably are close to the visual and visceral seeds resulting in the canvases of Bacon.
Rather than a biography of Bacon, LOVE IS THE DEVIL is episodic, attempting to recreate some of the situations that focused the mind of the man who created such grossly distorted creatures that ranged from the Pope to athletes, to portraits of his friends, to highly charged images of his long term physical ally, George Dyer. The camera pulls in and out of focus just the way Bacon's paintings do and instead of replicating Bacon's actual works, the film merely suggests the nidus that began the ideas: there are extended periods of Bacon, all dressed up for his smarmy nights on the dark side of town, turning from side to side, in and out of focus, not unlike his triptychs of Self Portraits.
Fully in charge of this 'study' of the genius is Derek Jacobi in a brilliant portrayal of the strange man who would become England's most honored painter. He has managed to discover myriad gestures and rituals like Bacon and whether he is in his infamous filthy studio or at The Colony bar he simply IS Francis Bacon. Balancing the needs and fragility of Bacon's psyche is a stunning portrait of the lost and tortured George Dyer by Daniel Craig. The interaction between these two actors is magical. And discovering the friends of Bacon who so often became models becomes a game of recollection as we are introduced to Muriel Belcher (Tilda Swinton), Henrietta Moraes (Anabel Brooks), Isabel Hawthorne (Anne Lambton), Daniel Farson (Adrian Scarborough) and John Deakin (Karl Johnson).
Many viewers would find this film difficult viewing as the life and style of the painter are less than immaculate. But for those who love expressionistic figurative art and the joy of creative film making, this is a very fine work to add to the library. Grady Harp
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