Tim Burton’s drama about the artist Margaret Ulbrich, whose husband for many years pretended that her works were by him.
1950s America. Beginner artist Margaret (Amy Adams) meets landscape painter Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), who makes a living from selling his paintings. Soon they marry, but Walter wants to share with his wife not only his life but also her art. One day he takes her paintings with him and, pretending they are his, sells them at a profit. In the patriarchal, capitalist society of the time, so-called women’s art is of no interest and Walter uses that argument to take on the authorship of his wife’s works. Soon he becomes world famous and begins to openly exploit Margaret. She decides to break this vicious circle of lies and tell the world who the real artist is.
Big Eyes is based on the true story of the artist Margaret Keane. The fact that she took her husband to court for the rights to her paintings was a sensation that laid bare an art world focused not on artistic discoveries but on consumerism and profit. A beautiful backstory, scandals, and endless copying of subjects and characters based on buyers’ preferences tell of the laws of the market rather than of real art. The works, depictions of children with huge eyes, became something like souvenirs, with Margaret and Walter fighting over ownership.
Unlike Burton’s earlier works, the dark and gothic Ed Wood or Edward Scissorhands, Big Eyes has a subdued, theatrical feel. Only Christoph Waltz’s performance of Walter’s frenzy and megalomania, and the eyes of the children in Margaret’s works introduce notes of madness into the ideal picture on the screen.
The film will be screened in English, French, and Italian with Russian subtitles.
Director Tim Burton
USA, Canada, 2014, 106 min.