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Gerhard Richter Painting

Director:  Corinna Belz
Year Released:  2011
Rating:  3.0

German artist Richter allows filmmaker Belz to record him in his (pristine and very bright) studio as he works on his abstract paintings which are scraped and layered and smeared with his own customized squeegee. The title is certainly accurate, as the focus of this documentary is on one of the world's top selling artists (though whether he'll be as popular once he passes - as cruel as that sounds - is debatable) basically doing his job (which Richter himself admits is fun and frustrating), leaving much of Richter's biography out of this (though she does get him to open up slightly about his parents). Perhaps I'm biased toward liking something like this because I find the act of painting (and fixing and repainting, etc.) to be fascinating - Clouzot's The Mystery of Picasso is a very good example of this - and Belz keeps it simple: it's oddly meditative, although exactly 'how' Richter knows a painting is 'finished' is, naturally, a complete mystery to all but Richter.

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