This self-conscious art film has some exceptional scenes, as it explores the life and work of Constant Permeke (1886-1952), a Belgian painter and sculptor who did his first expressionist paintings in England but was always Flemish in inspiration. Permeke's most common subjects were sailors or fishermen, and it is interesting that this docudrama notes he threw his "failed" canvases into the sea. Director Henri Storck uses the device of a photographer, Anna (Ilse Uitterlinden) who travels to the places that Permeke lived and painted to try to formulate a clear idea of his work. Re-enactments bring to life aspects of Permeke's past, and several avant-garde sequences (such as his canvases bursting into flame) are meant to be statements on the nature of his work and expressionism itself. There is also some archival footage of the English artist James Ensor, a friend of Permeke's.
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