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Willem Dafoe meets Julian Schnabel 'At Eternity's Gate'

by Murtada Elfadl

Willem Dafoe went 14 years between his first and second Oscar nominations, and another 17 years between his second and third. But the star of Platoon (1986), Shadow of a Vampire (2000) and The Florida Project (2017) could immediately follow up that last nomination just a year later with his lead role as Vincent Van Gogh in Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate...

The film has just played at Venice to early excellent reviews. It will close the New York Film Festival next month before opening on November 16. What we know is that it is not a straight biopic of Van Gogh’s life even if it touches on the milestones that we are all familiar with - cutting off his ear, his relationship with his brother (Rupert Friend) and contemporary Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac). In fact with the newly released trailer, the film is officially described as “not a forensic biography, but rather scenes based on Vincent van Gogh's letters, common agreement about events in his life that present as facts, hearsay, and moments that are just plain invented.” The reviews follow suit and make sure to tell us what kind of biopic it’s not.

“..transcends the limitations of the conventional biopic and creates something that feels genuinely new”- IndieWire.

In its rupture from traditional biographical narratives, it does not merely stand out as unconventional biopic–it also comes close to resuscitating the idea of cinema as moving pictures” - The Film Stage.

You can judge yourself from the trailer...

Your turn to tell us: Yes, No or Maybe So?

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Reader Comments (12)

YES because Willem Dafoe and Oscar Isaac. But why am I getting Tom & Viv vibes from Dafoe's performance in this trailer?

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterevangelina

I think Dafoe will be a follow up nominee from last year.

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Dafoe has such flat vocal expressions in the trailer. No passion just the same cadence throughout. He will still probably get a nomination but I don't think he will be able to beat what Kirk Douglas did.

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

This man should've won an Oscar for Shadow of a Vampire. Truly chilling. Hope this is a successful showcase.

In other, merciful news, AMPAS has opted to shelve its hideous Popular Film category (hopefully permanently):

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

I saw the trailer this morning and is my favorite trailer of the year along with Suspiria and The Favourite.

I love Julian Schnabel and I really think will be a something remarkable what we see on screen.

I only don't lock Willem as the Best Actor of the year because Christian Bale exists and who knows how good is him? I predicted he coul be awesome.

But will means a lot to me see my 1988 favorites perfomers awarded 30 years later:

Willem Dafoe in The Last Temptation of Christ

Glenn Close for Dangerous Liaisons

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Doesn't look good but I love Willem and Schnabel is an interesting director.

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

As a fan of both Willem Dafoe and Julian Schnabel, all I can say is.... OH HELL YEAH!

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

They can 'transcend conventional limitations' and rupture all the 'traditional biographical narratives' they want, but this still looks like a biopic to me.

A major drawback of being an Oscar completist this century is all the biopics and based-on-a-true-story nominees you end up seeing.

I would've much preferred Dafoe win a deserved Oscar for his compassionate and grounded characterisation in THE FLORIDA PROJECT.

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

He should have won last year and that is the truth.

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSTFU

Dafoe getting a Lead Oscar is cooler than him simply winning one during his three supporting bids.

September 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

/3rtful Duh?

September 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCap’n Obvious

Guarded optimism with this one- the trailer makes it look like an innovative take on the classic biopic and with Schnabel at the helm there's a lot of potential!

September 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermatt

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