Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Words and Pictures

Lab 2.0 - November 18, 2014  by Susan Weinberg

Today a small group of Lab 2.0 participants gathered to watch a film, Words and Pictures, that Robyn and Anat had discovered together. Starring Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen, the film addresses a subject that we had explored in last year's lab. Which is more powerful, word or image? As our lab includes both visual artists and writers and poets, we each bring an understanding of the strengths and limitations of our own respective medium.

Now as someone who relies on both word and visuals in her work, it was clear to me from the outset that the two complement and amplify each other. The two protagonists took a little longer to come to that conclusion, hence we have a movie.

Each of the two characters is disabled in different ways, Owens plays Jack Marcus, an alcoholic and rather arrogant English teacher at a private school. Binoche plays Dina Delsanto, an accomplished artist struggling with rheumatoid arthritis and its impact on her ability to paint. Romantic interest plays out against a competition in the school where both teach. Each seeks to prove which has greater impact, word or image. Along the way there are some great quotes and some fabulous artwork, done by Binoche who is a long-time artist.

Some of the most interesting scenes were those with Binoche as she sought creative ways to apply paint to compensate for her disability. Huge suspended brushes, a kitchen chair on wheels and a brace to hold the brush enabled the creation of the beautiful artwork in the film. Some of the inspiration for these approaches was based on the work of Fabienne Verdier. We sat silently watching the credits at the end of the film wanting to learn who was the artist. Knowing Binoche created the work certainly gave the film greater resonance.

For further information on the work of Fabienne Verdier.

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