CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 17. . . .January 6, 2012
In Winter Still: A Claude Monet Story. (Painted Tales).
Umesh Shukla (Director). Umesh Shukla, Fionna McLarlin & Kate Myers (Writers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2010.
10 min., 8 sec., DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153C 0110 057.
Monet, Claude, 1840-1926-Fiction-Juvenile films.
Grades 1 and up / Ages 6 and up.
Review by Cathy Vincent-Linderoos.
This film is a portrayal of what sights and events might have inspired world-renowned artist Claude Monet in the last few years of his life.
To be specific, viewers are shown how Monet's garden at his home in Giverny, France, was the inspiration for a series of vibrant impressionist paintings from the master; but only when the garden's flowers were all blooming. One very long, wintry year with no children or flowers had the effect of entirely stilling Monet's imagination, and thus his light-filled, awe-inspiring painting ceased.
The role Monet, himself, played in, shall we say, re-imagining the luscious garden takes special form through the creative animation art used in the film. Viewers see children playing happily in the garden before the mean gardener expels them. The film shows that only when the children return does spring return -- bringing with it renewed life in the garden.
One small boy, once inconsolable in the coldest part of the garden, has a message for Monet. We realize that, because the artist allowed the boy to play in his garden, the boy invites him to play in his own garden. Upon hearing this message, Monet is able to die in peace.
Viewers are to understand the boy as representing Jesus Christ who has invited Monet to live in paradise. I encourage teachers to read this review and see the entire film before showing it to a class. A Christian school or a Sunday school would be well-suited for its use. Alternatively, the film is ideal resource material for a film production class.
Cathy Vincent-Linderoos is a retired elementary school-teacher living in London, ON.
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