Mercè, a young girl living rough on the streets of a small French village, is taken in by an elegant older woman who offers her food, clothing and shelter if she will pose nude for her husband, an artist.
A constant chemistry between Mercè (Aida Folch) and the titular artist, Marc Cros (Jean Rochefort), plays out in the film, but we find ourselves wondering what Marc’s intentions really are as Mercè develops from a shy, timid girl into a strong and confident woman and their roles are gradually reversed.
With hints of dry humour and slight turns in the narrative, including introductions to new and interesting characters, you are left intrigued as to where the story will go and what scenarios will unfold.
The events take place against the backdrop of Occupied France, and inevitably there is also a political undercurrent throughout the film, subtly conveyed in Marcè’s intelligent lines and educational speeches.
With no obvious genre or narrative set-up, the film creates a beautiful tension, leaving you glued until the very end – which was not an ending I expected at all.
For me, THE ARTIST AND THE MODEL has a flavour of Lasse Hallström’s CHOCOLAT, but with a slower pace and a more intimate atmosphere.
Shot entirely in black and white, the film leaves you free to explore beauty in a new light, with a poetically written script and flawless cinematography.
THE ARTIST AND THE MODEL is a true work of art in more than one respect, and a subtly seductive story that will stick with you for a long time.
Find your nearest screening here.