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Thursday, October 6, 2011

ART FILM FEATURE: LOVE IS THE DEVIL





FILM REVIEW; Inside an Artist's Mind In a World of Torment
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
Published: October 7, 1998

Anyone who subscribes to the sentimental fallacy that great artists are nicer people than the rest of us (the reasoning goes that because they supposedly feel more than ordinary mortals, they must be nobler and more caring) hasn't met many great artists. If anything, the reverse tends to be true: the obsessive pursuit of an artistic idea more often than not involves a ruthless tunnel vision that screens out anything that isn't useful to the work or to the career.

''Love Is the Devil,'' John Maybury's searing portrait of the English painter Francis Bacon (Derek Jacobi) at the height of his fame in the 1960's, is one of the nastiest and most truthful portraits of the artist-as-monster ever filmed. Its story of the colossally self-absorbed painter and his self-destructive younger lover, George Dyer (Daniel Craig), begins when Bacon awakens in his studio one night to discover a burglar on the premises. Sizing up the thief as an appetizing piece of rough trade, Bacon makes a proposition: if the robber sheds his clothes and comes to bed with him, he promises, he can have anything he wants. The next thing you know, they're a couple.

Bacon craves being totally dominated by other men, but the most you see of him acting out this fantasy is in an early scene where Bacon kneels over a bed while George knots a belt around his fist and aims a lighted cigarette at his bare back. Later in the film, he attends a boxing match where he watches intensely as one fighter smashes the other in the head, splattering a jet of blood onto Bacon's ecstatic face.

Read full article here.

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