Author(s): Sergio Requejo
“The Last Art Work”
Directed by Fernando Meirelles
Written by Isabel Coixet
Music by Alberto Iglesias
Produced by Scott Rudin
Cate Blanchett (Sylvia White / Hanna)
Ralph Fiennes (Michael White )
Javier Bardem (Salvador Blanco )
Juliette Binoche (Irène )
Tagline: “When we find our own place it’s easier to find our truth"
Synopsis: London 1992. After the disappearance of the Spanish painter Salvador Blanco, an art gallery is interested in his latest work and decides to dedicate him an exhibition about the war in the Balkans. Michael White, a critic of art from an important newspaper, will discover in this exhibition a picture that will affect him specially. The last picture that he painted is the portrait of a naked woman with a child, woman who is identical to his own wife. Distrustful and perplex he asks for an explanation to his wife Sylvia, plunged in a depression after knowing they are unable to have children. After a big discussion, she promises him that she doesn’t know the painter and that she doesn’t know anything about that painting. They both go to the exhibition and Sylvia can’t believe her own eyes when she sees the painting and she recognized herself on it. She gets obsessed with the picture and tries to know everything about the painter, the picture and where it was painted. Sylvia convinces her husband to go to Spain, because she is living the disappearance as something personal. Michael accepts it in order to help his wife and his marriage. They will meet Salvador’s ex-wife, Irène, in Barcelona, a French gallery owner who devotes herself to compile and manage the work of her missing ex-husband. Irène recognizes the face of Sylvia immediately and tells them that the painting was the last one that she received from the Salvador, almost one year ago. Sylvia decides to go to Bosnia to find Salvador. Her husband tries to convince her to stay, but she needs to know the truth and both embark direct to Sarajevo.
They will follow the local tracks from where Salvador sends his last works and they will be impressed by an environment of hatred and latent war. Sylvia feels the need to help in everything that she can, and she feels good with herself like she never does before. Michael does not bear the pressure and decides to return to London but Sylvia decides to stay there increasing the emotional distance between them.
Salvador Blanco decides to go to Sarajevo for a while just to make some art works and to hide from his own life. Salvador will be hurt in a gunfire while he’s painting in a small village. An old woman, called Hannah, will keep him in her house to heal him the wounds. Salvador remains in the house several weeks and he satisfies his artistic desires drawing a painting of a woman and a baby from a picture that he has in his room, just in front of his bed. Salvador gets obsessed with this photography and he discover that she is Hannah, the woman who is taking care of him, and the baby is a girl she gave in adoption to an English couple from the embassy many years ago.
What the press would say:
Fernando Meirelles presents a hard and touching story about the research of our own origins. It’s about the searching of our identity, who we are and where we come from. The characters are always wondering if his place in the world is the one they are living now. The director tells us all this trough the eyes of a couple, happy in appearance, with no necessities, but that can not find the place they dream once.
We get involved in the story trough the great interpretations of Cate Blanchett (amazing in a double role Sylvia/Hannah) and Ralf Fiennes, in a journey with the dramatic background of the war. Cate Blanchett’s strength carry us with her motivations, to know the truth about her family, her life, her history. The main characters are supported by two great actors like Bardem and Binoche, with two very complex roles, full of shapes and an intense love background too. They will explain us the story in a parallel way with some explanatory flash-backs.
One of those movies the whole world needs to see.
Best Director: Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener, City of God)
Best Original Screenplay: Isabel Coixet (My life without me, Secret life of words)
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett
Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem
Best Supporting Actress: Juliette Binoche