Review: Water Lilies of Monet – The magic of water and light (2018)


Director: Giovanni Troilo | 90 minutes | documentary | Actors: Elisa Lasowski

Impressionism and founder Claude Monet are seamlessly linked. In the successful documentary “Water Lilies of Monet” we travel with him along the Seine, Le Havre, Poissy, Giverny up to Paris. One of Monet’s most famous works is the immense “Le Grand Décoration”, a paneled painting depicting a calm pond full of blooming water lilies. As viewers, we are guests in his experience and fight against the new generation – led by Picasso and Matisse – to create these masterpieces.

As a starting painter in Paris, the young Claude lived with Renoir and his circle of friends included Paul Cezànne and Edgar Degas. He wanted nothing more than to work with the elements; water, nature and light. This quest for creation, painting technique and personal happiness brought him to Normandy, London and again via the Netherlands to France. Wherever he lived, it was always close to a river bed. In addition to light, passion for water was also deep. He preferred to be put in a buoy after his death so that he could ride the waves endlessly.

Monet’s life can best be described as follows: a love for the changing landscape around him that turned into an obsession to capture the beauty of water, light and air on a canvas. You would almost forget that he wanted to end his career due to depression after the death of his great love and second wife Alice and eldest son Jean, but Claude recovered himself, which demanded extra. He was diagnosed shortly after with cataracts in both eyes that made him almost blind. The tranquility in his own garden in Giverny brought Claude peace and at the same time an enormous dose of inspiration, because there he painted around 250 canvases in oil, including his world-famous lilies and other floral splendor.

That led to the colossal lily ponds that would be on display at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. Monet hung his panels – on which he had worked for 12 years – on two impressive oval walls that he himself designed to take the visitor into his serene and restful world on the waterfront. In 1927 the doors of the museum were opened by his good friend and Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau. But it turned out not to be a success, because the French people detested the works of art. Monet did not know this, because five months before the opening of the museum, he died at the age of 86 from an autoimmune disease.

Nine years earlier, at the time of the First World War, Claude wrote a letter to Georges: “I am about to complete two decorative panels that I intend to sign on Victory Day and, through your kind help, ask you for them. to the state… it’s not much, but it’s the only way I’ve participated in the victory. […] I admire you and embrace you with all my heart. ”

Actress Elisa Lasowski (“David Bowie: Blackstar”) takes you through Claude’s water garden and tells about the life and process that Monet went through with an utterly charming French accent. She lived just like her subject in France, Algeria and the Netherlands. This stunning documentary “Water Lilies of Monet” is inspired by the 2016 bestseller “Madness and Enchantment.” Claude Monet and Ross King’s water lilies, who won international attention with this. But if you want to be amazed by Monet’s masterpieces with your own eyes, you will have to take a plane to Paris, Nantes, London, Wales, New York, Chicago, Portland, Cleveland and Kansas City, because there are many of Claude Monet’s Nymphéas (lilies in French) is still in full bloom.

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