The anguished paintings of Edvard Munch, who was born in 1863, foreshadowed expressionism and provided uneasy visual correlatives to the horror and loneliness of the twentieth century. But it wasn't until 1974 -- three decades after the Norwegian painter's death -- that a filmmaker captured the spirit of Munch's work and the dark personal traumas underlying it. That filmmaker was the extraordinary British documentarian Peter Watkins, and Edvard Munch, originally made for Scandinavian television, remains one of the great films about an artist and his work. Sidestepping the usual conventions of the genre, Watkins has actors in period costume address the camera in the manner of TV interviewees, and he includes telling excerpts from the painter's diaries, scalding commentary from his critics and biographical sketches of his peers. In its present form, the film runs a hefty 174 minutes, and it reveals the creator of "The Scream" in rich, harrowing detail.
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Edvard Munch will screen Wednesday, October 19, as part of the University of Colorado's renowned International Film Series. The showing is at 7 p.m. in Muenzinger Auditorium, just west of Folsom Stadium on CU's Boulder campus. For information, call 303-492-1531.