Jean Marc Calvet is a self taught French artist, currently living in Nicaragua. Calvet is a biopic of his amazing lifestory. The film is basically an extended interview with Calvet, interspersed with scenes from the places he has lived, views of his amazing artworks and abstract, impressionistic interludes.
Calvet was born in Nice, France, in 1965. He had a hard childhood and an early career as a bodyguard to the stars, a French Legionnaire and a vice cop. He then abandoned his partner and young son to take a shady job in the USA, which led to him absconding to Central America with huge amounts of cash he had stolen from his employer. He hid out in Costa Rica and at one point hid in his house on a coke binge that lasted months. The film gives a brilliant and disturbing recreation of the hallucinatory paranoia he was experiencing at this time. During a particular hallucination he literally found some paint and started throwing it around the house. He realised that this formed a sort of emotional release and he started to paint on a regular basis. At this point he was seeing it as purely a therapy, it was months or years before he began to see himself as an artist.
When he had overcome his problems and moved to Nicaragua, Calvet decided to search for his son. I found this part of the film a bit tedious, involving as it did a lot of getting lost in little streets and asking the neighbours if they knew Calvet's family. However, tedious is probably how it felt in reality at times and there is an emotionally satisfying conclusion to Calvet's attempt to reconcile with his first family.
Calvet is now married with a daughter and he is a successful and prolific artist.
I attended the press screening of this film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Public Screenings are:
20.00, 17 June. 15.15, 18 June. Both screenings are in Cameo 1. You can book on the Edinburgh International Film Festival website here.
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