A Revolution on Canvas (2023) — Movie Review
- Dec 8, 2023
In Till Schauder and Sara Nodjoumi's captivating documentary 'A Revolution on Canvas,' they beautifully demonstrate how intensely interlinked the spheres of politics, personal life, and art can be. The central figure, Iranian artist Nicky Nodjoumi, embodies this inextricable connection. His art tirelessly speaks the language of politics and personal beliefs, making him one of Iran's most important voices, albeit effectively an exile.
Though, at times, 'A Revolution on Canvas' exerts a soft touch on the 'Revolution' concept, the film's empathic and inspiring nature is mesmerizing. Perhaps the unique perspective offered by his daughter, Sara, saves the film from descending into unexciting adoration. Her explicit affection and respect for her father allows viewers to experience shared sentiments.
Nicky Nodjoumi, 81, who relocated to New York in the '60s, found his flame of revolution during an equally spirited time in the United States. Meanwhile, the rise of the Shah shaped his homeland and the resulting Islamic Revolution. Nodjoumi's art, infused with fearless attitudes towards not only his home country's leadership but worldwide systems that supported it, provocatively reflected this tumultuous period. His art, showcased in 'A Revolution on Canvas,' impressively mixes elements of pop art from New York's '60s counter-culture movement and aspects of his cultural imagery.
The film doesn't just focus on the artist; it additionally provides insights into Nodjoumi the man. As a candid interviewee, he often responds to his daughter's queries while painting, symbolically merging his artistic and paternal identities. His openness extends to discussing the circumstances leading to the end of his marriage to artist Nahid Hagigat, and the revolutionary spirit that guided his life choices. This transparent exploration invites a deeper understanding of how an artist's personal beliefs shape their art and familial relationships.
The documentary also uncovers an international micro-thriller involving the Nodzoumis' endeavors to extract some of Nikzad's masterpieces from the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. The artwork might not be considered Nodjoumi's best, but it encapsulates the chaotic era in which they were created. The determined efforts to recover these politically controversial pieces form a fascinating subplot in the broader narrative of Nodjoumi's life and artistic journey.
'A Revolution on Canvas,' offers a unique exploration of the intertwined world of art, politics, and human relationships. It opens in New York today and Los Angeles on December 8th.
8 / 10
In 'A Revolution on Canvas,' Iranian artist Nikzad Nodjoumi's talent becomes a stage where personal, political, and artistic elements play out.