THE ARTIST AND THE MODEL
Directed by Fernando Trueba
Ms. Hen watched THE ARTIST AND THE MODEL because she had seen the preview, and it looked like a film she would like: in black and white, about art, in French. She liked it, but the film left her wanting more.
In France, during World War II, Lea, the wife of a sculptor, sees Merce in the town square washing in the fountain, and decides she would be an acceptable model for her husband. She approaches Merce and takes her home and gives her dinner. Lea proposes to Merce that she could be a model and stay in the house on the hill, but she will have to model nude. Lea, her husband and the maid all think that Merce has been in a camp. Merce lets them think her entire family is dead.
Merce becomes a model for the arist Marc Cros. She is a fidgety model, and Marc chastises her. He has not done his work since the war began, and he tries to get his skill back. But Merce has secrets. She is not a refugee from a camp, but a guide who helps Jewish people and others escaping the Germans cross the mountains to Spain. When this was revealed to Ms. Hen in the film, she was disappointed. She wanted more danger, but she didn’t sense any.
The nudity did not bother Ms. Hen, but the eroticism did. Ms. Hen did not think it was sexy that the old artist was interested in the young model. A man would like this, but not a woman, or a hen. The long-winded speech about how a woman’s body is made by God is babbling nonsense to Ms. Hen. Anyone who still believes in creation or in an idea like that is foolish. Of course, this took place in the 1940s.
Ms. Hen was a little disappointed that even thought this film took place in the country, and in France, there were no hens or chickens around. The French love their hens. There were some dead pigeons in the beginning, and there was mention that the Germans were taking the homing pigeons to eat, so maybe there were no hens in the area at that time.
Even though Ms. Hen did not like a lot of the film, the aspect she did enjoy was the scenery. Some of the film was made in Perpignan, France, which is near the coast of the Mediterranean. Ms. Hen stayed somewhere much like this last year, at a place called La Muse, in a village called Labastide Esparbairenque, near Carcasonne. When Marc, the sculptor, opened the windows of his studio, Ms. Hen was in La Muse again. She could smell the old building and the fresh air of the mountains.
Ms. Hen thought that even if she didn’t like the film that much, she loved the feeling of being back at La Muse. The sensation of the sights of the buildings and the scenery was so real to her that she felt she was in France again. She got distracted from the film and remembered France. This doesn’t usually happen when a person, or a hen watches a film. Most of the time we’re in the film. But Ms. Hen loved being swept back to the mountains, with the changing light and the perfect air. This film is mostly a waste of time, but for Ms. Hen, it was time well spent because she got to relive her time in France.