Sunday, October 10, 2010

the oval portrait

so i just finished watching vivre sa vie properly for the first time, and this scene and the finale it precedes is by far some of the most beautiful cinema i have ever seen.

"and in sooth some who beheld the portrait spoke of its resemblence as of a mighty marvel and a proof not less of the power of the painter than of his deep love for her whom he depicted so surpassingly well. but at length, as the labor drew nearer to its conclusion, there were admitted none into the turret, for the painter had grown wild with the ardor of his work and turned his eyes from the canvas rarely, even to regard his wife. and he would not see that the tints which he spread upon the canvas were drawn from the cheeks of her who sat beside him. and when many weeks had passed and but little remained to do save one brush upon the mouth and one tint upon the eye, the spirit of the lady again flickered up as the flame of the lamp, and then the brush was given and then the tint was placed. and for one moment, the painter stood entranced, before the work he had wrought. but in the next, while he yet gazed, he grew tremulous and aghast and crying with a loud voice: "this is indeed life itself!" turned suddenly to regard his beloved: she was dead."