Have you ever wondered why a painter could leave a painting unfinished? Is it because he got bored of it and started a new, more interesting one? Or, maybe, he just thought it looked better that way?
The fascination for non-finito [it. unfinished], the official term for the unfinished work, began during the Renaissance age – cultural movement that spanned the period roughly from the XIVth to the XVIIth century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. It seems that the sculptor Donatello had the habit to create certain works by sculpting just some parts, the rest leaving it unfinished, creating the impression that the figure is stuck in the stone. So, he named his technique „non-finito”. Even the great masters like Michelangelo or Leonardo used this technique. But why did they do that?
There could be plenty of reasons like: change of scenery, unexpected events, financial problems or it was the author’s choice in order to add more drama to the painting or change the general state. The non-finito left its mark even on architecture – more influenced by the economic and political changes, on literature, music and film, the main cause being, mostly, the passing of time. The unfinished works are a great opportunity to analyze the creative process of the artist, from beginning to end.
Jean-François Laguionie, returns after „L’île de Black Mór” (2004), with the animated feature film „Le Tableau” (2011), a movie about the life within an unfinished painting. The painter left unfinished a castle, some blooming gardens and a frightening forest, where live 3 types of characters: Toupins (fr. tout peints = finished), Pafinis (fr. pas finis = unfinished) and Reufs (eng. roughs = sketches). Due to the fact that they are finished, the Toupins take charge, banish away the Pafinis and subdue the Reufs. Confident that only the painter could bring harmony and equality, by finishing the painting, Ramo, a Toupin in love with Claire, a Pafini, together with a Pafini and a Reuf decide to find the creator. They are representatives of the three different social classes. Because of their artistic differences, each class created its own world: the castle, where the superior, domineering, ridicoulos even, Toupins live, being the ones that take decisions for everybody else; the gardens, where the free and spontaneous Pafinis live, but excluded from the conventional events of the Toupins, because of their unfinished look; and the Reufs’ nowhere, abandoned because they’re only sketches with no color, hiding easily and having a great difficulty in expressing themselves, babbling all the time.
The Anik Le Ray scenario takes the characters out of the painting, facing them to the real world of the painter’s studio, where they discover other worlds framed inside other paintings: a war picture, in which the only thing that matters is being red or green, and a picture of Venice in celebration, with its infinity of masks.
From the artistic point of view, it’s obvious that the main source of inspiration was the fauvism – French artistic movement from the beginning of the XXth century, which implies a spontaneous approach of the chosen subject, using bold, pure, vibrant colors, avoiding mixing them. This is the reason why the characters and objects are so lively colored, not respecting the original colors found in nature, this being a subjective approach, a state of mind. No wonder that the Pafinis and, especially, the Reufs want to be colorful and are feeling abandoned by their creator. Finding the author of the painting they live in, becomes their most important goal, until they decide to take the matter into their own hands. The entire adventure is, in fact, each ones journey towards knowledge and self-discovery.
The painter, did not abandoned the characters, but offered them the essential, thinking that a simple drawing could be more beautiful than a finished painting. Sometimes we forget that we have all we need in order to accomplish our destiny: freedom and the possibility to choose our own reality. Regarding knowledge, there are no limits, and there are only few who dare to go further, beyond the frightening forest.