"What is Surrealism? It is a cuckoo's egg placed in a nest with René Magritte's knowledge." André Breton
You had better look twice! In the works of René Magritte, an absurd assembly of everyday objects appear on the canvas. The leading figure of the Belgian surrealists has a brilliant way of showing the viewer the phenomena of art, reality, perception and language. The artist’s subversive humour is thereby omnipresent, as in the silent movies that he produced with his friends.
The filmmaker Adrian Maben penetrates Magritte’s fantastic picture-puzzle world. He does this by merging pictures, childhood memories, objects from Magritte’s apartment in Brussels, old film clips and interviews to create a portrait of a unique artist and human being.
The house where artist Rene Magritte lived and worked was left untouched by his widow after his death in 1967, and it tells much about the man who found inspiration in everyday surroundings. Childhood experiences and the suicide of Magritte's mother are recalled by the artist himself in archive footage and he explains how this tragic event later inspired themes in his paintings.
The film focuses on the recurring influences of certain objects and places in Magritte's art, his experimentation with futurism and his attraction to the work of de Chirico before discovering his own unique surrealist style.
Monsieur Magritte puts the "real" in surreal by enabling the viewer to see the world as the Belgian artist painted it. The filmmakers combine footage of places the artist lived (and was inspired by) with a black-and-white archival interview with Magritte and scenes from home-movie "films" the artist made for his own enjoyment.
The production strikes a nice balance between well-chosen biographical details and silence, at which time the dreamlike art is definitely allowed to speak for itself to the accompaniment of a fine soundtrack. "I want to breathe new light into ordinary things around us," Magritte says. While showing how the artist's life influenced his work, the makers of Magritte shed new light on the extraordinary.