Camille Claudel (Fère-en-Tardenois, Aisne, 1864 - Montdevergues, Vaucluse, 1943) was a French sculptor, sister of the French poet, playwright and diplomat Paul Claudel and lover and collaborator of Auguste Rodin.
Camille (Isabelle Adjani), the sister of the writer Paul Claudel, felt from an early age a great passion for art and especially for sculpture to which she devoted much of her life. The sculptor Auguste Rodin (Gérard Depardieu) was her master, and she became his muse. A stormy love affair arose between the two, full of crises and ruptures. The sculptor also had a very hectic personal life: she was too free and independent a woman who did not adapt to the customs and conventions of her time. At the end of her life, she lived as a beggar and ended up being admitted to a psychiatric hospital due to her mental problems. (FILMAFFINITY)
How can Isabelle Adjani not end up really crazy every time she plays one of these roles? A fascinating riddle. Everything in the film is formally perfect: interpretations, setting, narration ... but everything is suspended, as expected, every time this woman makes the slightest move, leaving her mark on everything. Her Camille Claudel has such a presence that it absorbs the life of the film, which is extinguished with her.
A powerful sentimental drama, which gives us a beautiful view of the love overshadowed by fascination, and how it is lowered before the creative projection of the artist; projection and restlessness that cannot be slowed down, if diverted, even if it is for the perdition of the creator.
We are told about love which is worship; who seeks the ideal of perfection and complementarity; which is not attraction, but dazzle, and which like fire, captivates, burns, and consumes. What attracts Rodin de Camille? He no longer sculpts, he directs. Others work for him, and he just points and signs. He has a focus, but he has lost touch with pure creation. He believes that on the way to the brand new success and the full recognition he currently enjoys, stagnant and indolent, he lost something. That he chose the path of success and not that of genuine creation, and that there is no going back. That is why he devotes himself to dismantling models, in the belief that in the most awkward posture and the most forced movement one must unquestionably find the inspiration or the secret of art, which had in his youth three palms of the face, and that he went away helplessly. "Inspiration does not exist." But he knows Camille. "What does she have that I lost?"
A young sculptor, who on bad days sneaks into the works of Paris to bring mud with which to create her works; that she gets dirty, and that in the middle of her job she looks like a woman giving birth. Feeling what each material hides, and feeling the need to bring it to life. He knows that more knowledge will give him more opportunity to give course to his art, to extract life from the inert, and he believes that this knowledge may well come from Master Rodin. They both meet and fall in love, believing that they will learn from each other. But it is not so. Camille is Rodin’s inspiration, and this is Camille’s ideal; both things unattainable for both. They may possess the other, create an emotional bond, and even dependence, but what they are really looking for in the other they will not find. Their link undermines the creative vision of both, and more of her. Rodin ends up exploding Camille's creative vein, projecting it into her work but not getting bogged down in it. When Camille sees in this situation an obstacle to her total artistic expansiveness she tries to resume her path, to resume her own and personal creation, but her vision will be clouded by her recent life. Disappointment will ally with reluctance to cloud Camille's sensibilities. Harassed by the feeling of being lost, she will lose more and more of herself and lose her mind.
The scenes of the artists in communion with the raw material, projecting almost in transit what this can become; inspired by a handful of mud or a piece of stone, infusing them with life by the imposition of hands so that the stone rises in the shape they set in mind ... they are all very good. And the final straight is of exalted and macabre beauty, with a haunting Adjani making the impression of being truly a stray animal. The dialogues between her and Depardieu are magnificent, as is the way she portrays Camille's relationship with the family. (Irian hallstatt).