Films past

Edvard Munch By Peter Watkins

Image courtesy of Peter Watkins

$15 ($10 ASF Members)
210 min.

In conjunction with our winter exhibition, The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography (on view through April 7, 2018), Scandinavia House will be screening the original TV movie version of Peter Watkins’ seminal 1974 film, Edvard Munch. The screening will take place over two nights, with Part 1 on Tuesday, March 20 and Part II on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Max Nelson will be making a special introduction to the film on March 20.

Following a rough chronology from 1884 to 1894, when Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (Geir Westby) began expressionism and established himself as northern Europe’s most maligned and controversial artist, the film flashes back to the death from consumption of his mother, when he was five, his sister’s death, and his own near-death at age 13 from pulmonary disease.

The film finds enduring significance in Munch’s brief affair with “Mrs. Heiberg” (Gro Fraas) and his participation in the café society of anarchist Hans Jæger (Kåre Stormark) in Christiania and later friendship in Berlin with August Strindberg (Alf Kare Strindberg). Through it all Munch’s melancholy and his desire to render his innermost feelings on canvas, cardboard, paper, stone, and wood are evident.

Writer and New York Review of Books contributor Max Nelson will be introducing the film on March 20.

“Nothing that Peter Watkins, the English director (“The War Game,” “Privilege,” “Punishment Park”), has done before quite prepares us for the moving, complex, beautifully felt portrait of the great Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944), one of the most influential painters in the founding and defining of European Expressionism.” —New York Times

Directed by Peter Watkins (Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, 1974). Special thanks to Peter Watkins and to Project X Distribution.


About the Director

Peter Watkins (b. 1935) is an English film and television director. He was born in Norbiton, Surrey, lived in Sweden, Canada, and Lithuania for many years, and now lives in France. His movies, pacifist and radical, strongly review the limit of classic documentary and movies.

Watkins mainly concentrates his works and ideas around the mass media and our relation/participation to a movie or television documentary. Nearly all of Watkins’ films have used a combination of dramatic and documentary elements to dissect historical occurrences or possible near future events.