Out of Focus: ‘Never Look Away,’ Film Inspired by Gerhard Richter’s Life, Is a Smug Melodrama
Art Business

Out of Focus: ‘Never Look Away,’ Film Inspired by Gerhard Richter’s Life, Is a Smug Melodrama

Cai Cohrs as young Kurt Barnert. CALEB DESCHANEL, COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES CLASSICS A young woman struggles to fight off the medics sent to take her to the sanitarium. Her nephew, unable to look away, shields his view with his hand, causing the scene behind it to blur. This focus-pull is meant to anticipate the blurred photorealist paintings that the boy will grow up to paint, but the equivalence is not even rough, neither aesthetically nor philosophically. This is only the first misguided conceit in Never Look Away , Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s return to German cinema a dozen years after his Oscar-winning debut, The Lives of Others . An unabashed melodrama, Never Look Awa y is the polar opposite of the chilly, removed early paintings of Gerhard Richter, which, with forensic zeal, the film will purport to interpret. Although names have been changed and fictional plot points introduced, biopics seldom have this film’s level of fidelity. Its lodestones are three of Richter’s 1965 paintings based on photographs: Aunt Marianne , holding the artist as a child; Mr. Heyde , the commander of the Nazi’s psychiatric extermination program; and Uncle Rudi , genially grinning in his Nazi uniform. The […]

OrangeniusInc Tweets