The Films of Julian Schnabel

  • Alex Britton


CHARACTERIZATION, REVISIONISM AND MISREPRESENTATION IN THE FILMS OF JULIAN SCHNABEL A few years ago after viewing the 2007 film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, the third film by contemporary director and (former) star painter Julian Schnabel, a friend of New York Review of Books writer Sanford Schwartz prophetically announced to the critic, "Apparently it's easier to make a great movie than a great painting."(1) Indeed, Schnabel's ascension to art stardom has taken a truly enigmatic path. Initially conjuring his success as a painter within the elitist landscape of the late 20th century New York City art market, today we find Schnabel strutting down the red carpet of the Cannes and Toronto international film festivals after writing and directing three films while armed with seemingly zero experience in the field of filmmaking or screenwriting. As a painter, Schnabel's work is largely classified as "Neo-Expressionist", belonging to Postmodernism's timely...