• Release Date:
The Painter Sam Francis Image
Metascore
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  • Summary: Forty years in the making, The Painter Sam Francis is artist Jeffrey Perkins’ lyrical and intimate portrait of a friend, mentor, and leading light of American abstract art. The film retraces Francis’ life and career from his childhood in California to his artistic maturation in post-war Paris, his time spent in Japan, and his return to the United States. Hinging on an interview that Perkins conducted with Francis in 1973, as well as extended scenes of the artist at work in the studio, the film provides deep insight into a man for whom creativity was a powerful life-sustaining force. Interviews with friends, family, and fellow artists - including Ed Ruscha, James Turrell, Bruce Conner, Alfred Leslie, and others - illuminate a mysterious and complex personality, and its reflection in a body of work that is simultaneously diverse and singular. For Francis, art was a path to transcendence; for Perkins, Francis was art. ‘The Painter Sam Francis’ is a labor of love, a moving portrait of a man, and a tribute to the power of art. (Body and Soul Productions) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Perkins asks us to bask silently in the majesty of an artist in his element; in one unforgettable shot, Francis stands atop a newly finished canvas, utterly transfixed. It’s a stirring snapshot of that strange space where the act of creating can be a religious experience.
  2. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    60
    For aficionados, the evidently rare footage of Francis squatting on hairy thighs, scampering ahead to stay intuitive before intellectual, will justify the film.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    50
    It’s a well-meaning mishmash that wouldn’t pass muster as an episode of “American Masters.”