Directed by Martin Provost, France 2008
121 mins. French dialogue with English sub-titles


Belgian actress Yolande Moreau headlines this biopic starring as, little-known but uncommonly brilliant painter, Séraphine Louis, who lived from 1864 to 1942. Though ostensibly a shepherdess and housekeeper whose chief duties involved cooking, cleaning and ironing, in her off-hours Séraphine joyously turned to natural elements of the outdoor world, with which she felt a tremendous degree of emotional and spiritual communion. Séraphine channeled these undying passions through painting, and, having only the scantest materials at hand, created paints from elements such as animal blood, oil from church candles, and dirt pulled from the ground. With these crude and raw tools, the nascent, budding artist created tableaux of floral arrangements utterly unlike any seen before. Sadly, those around Séraphine perceived the paintings as coarse and unimpressive - something of a joke. Her life took a most fantastic turn, then, when Wilhelm Uhde, a German art critic, turned up in Senlis - and laid eyes on the young woman's creations for the first time. Yet, despite the success that Uhde brought to Séraphine, a sad future still lay ahead for the young woman - one accompanied by continued obscurity and emotional isolation.
What the Critics say:
"Provost's film has few equals in depicting the dangerous territory between artistic inspiration and madness."  (Jeffrey Overstreet - Filmwell)