Love is the Devil DVD

aka Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis, John Maybury, 1998


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Film Details

Directed by John Maybury

Produced in 1998

Main Language - ENGLISH

Countries & Regions - British Film

MovieMail's Review

John Maybury’s Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon addresses its subject through fragments of Bacon’s (Derek Jacobi’s) relationship with east-end criminal George Dyer (Daniel Craig) among the high art and low life, the booze and barbiturates, of 1960s Soho. Jacobi—blithe, detached, and thoroughly unsympathetic—is excellent as Bacon, capturing the volatile combination of sexual masochism and emotional sadism that made the relationship with Dyer so destructive, but his portraits of him so powerful. Daniel Craig is appropriately muscular and tormented, and Maybury pulls off the difficult task of making Dyer’s internal anguish chime with the viewer’s memory of Bacon’s paintings (which are themselves never shown). It is in this creative address of one visual media to another that the film is at its best, revealing Bacon’s own acute awareness of the effects of photography upon painting. Much of Maybury’s attention is devoted to the soiled and crumpled snapshots that littered Bacon’s studio floor; to his ambivalent rapport with the work of John Deakin; and one particularly striking scene shows Bacon’s reaction to the Odessa steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin (which inspired many of his studies). Suggestive rather than explanatory, a feast for the mind and an assault on the senses, Love is the Devil provides a frame for, rather than a précis of, Bacon’s compelling art.

on 28th February 2006
Author of 10 reviews

Love is the Devil

Film Description

Exploring the territory where art, love and sex collide, Love is the Devil charts the powerful and dangerous relationship betweens one of Britain’s most controversial artists, Francis Bacon (Derek Jacobi) and his lover and muse George Dyer (Daniel Craig). This is a dazzling, audacious feature from one of Britain’s most exciting directors (The Edge of Love, The Jacket) portraying a bawdy, decadent world of artists’ studio, casinos and late night bars – including the infamous Colony Room Club, presided over by foul-mouthed patroness Muriel Belcher (Tilda Swinton)

Derek Jacobi’s portrayal of Bacon is precise and mesmerising, whilst Daniel Craig gives a raw, expressive performance as the tough petty thief who became the model for some of Bacon’s most intense and celebrated paintings, his ultimate vulnerability throwing his lover’s glory into sharp relief. The film’s fantastic visual style captures the extraordinary dynamism of Bacon’s art; the lighting and colour palette are inspired by his work, and the film’s atmosphere is one of both beauty and grotesque.

DVD Details

Certificate: 18

Publisher: BFI

Length: 87 mins

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 2

Released: 25th August 2008

Cat No: BFIVD776

Subtitles: English HoH

DVD Extras

  • New full feature commentary by John Maybury and Derek Jacobi
  • The Colony – exclusive feature documentary preview (16 minutes)
  • New interview with producers Ben Gibson and Chiara Menage
  • Booklet – Essays by Michael O’Pray and Sir Christopher Frayling.

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