Cezanne et moi

The new French movie about the relationship/friendship between Paul Cezanne and Emile Zola is a work of art in itself. The story reveals the struggles of Cezanne, a raucous French painter prone to fits of anger and self destructiveness, and the jealous and competitive relationship he had with his childhood friend Emile Zola. As a young writer,  Zola relied on his connection to Cezanne and they were deep friends. Zola, a social renegade from a wealthy French Aristocratic family, was poor most of his life. Married with a son, he was abusive and neglectful to both wife and son.. Zola, was born in poverty and raised himself to highest levels of French society.  His wildly successful novels, which shocked the Victorian community, brought him fame and fortune. He was childless and suffered deep insecurities. Later in life he finally had children.

The friendship between the men was irreparably damaged by the publication of Zola’s “L’Oeuvre” which depicted the post impressionist Cezanne as a pathetic, impotent loser. The movie shows Cezanne living in Aix-en -Provence in a beautiful natural setting, and you can almost taste the tomatoes and smell the flowers. I liked it for its emotional honesty and the beauty it showed, scars and all.

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