The Painting [Boldizsár CR, Italy, 2018]
Hewn from the drawing-room interiors and low classicist skylines of Venice, the images in Boldiszár CR’s The Painting are immediately seductive. You even wish certain would linger longer, as with the opening wide framing of a drawing-room looking out over cathedral domes, terracotta roofs, and minarets, light through a stone balcony accenting the deep furnishing and gold fretted wallpaper within. It elapses barely a second before being shuffled along in this procession of quiet, alluring pictures.
Cinematographer Marcell Rev has much to work with and gets a tune and a half out of this already maniacally documented city. His widescreen compositions work fluently in interior spaces as bright sunshine invades luxuriously to glitter around lounge chair edges, or pick out the wire mesh details on a baroquely finished vent.
These are renaissance spaces, carefully ornamented by a few stylistically apposite twentieth-century inductees: a rotary telephone, some faux-flame electric chandeliers, and the modern silhouettes worn by model Elisa Sednaoui – these from the Tory Burch fall-winter collection, a Marrakech-Chelsea inspired line featured here as per the film’s Vogue Italia-commissioned brief.
Sednaoui spends the time waiting for, then searching out, a mysterious painting, in a lightly avant-garde story she leads with subtle, languid range, that pairs Leon Jean-Marie’s persistent, curious, string-forward score. The denouement impels a reflective approach to beauty and desire and is of a piece with the film’s construction, in which the simple raw materials of location, actor and costume are organised with delicate, leisurely affect.