Ever since movies began, screen biographies have aroused controversy and acclaim. The best, such as A Man for All Seasons and Schindler’s List, have achieved huge popularity. Even less distinguished examples, such as Braveheart, Gandhi and The Last Emperor, have followed suit.
This year has already seen the arrival in Britain of two big biopics, Oliver Stone’s Nixon and Mario Van Peebles’s Panther. November saw the release of two more: Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins and James Ivory’s Surviving Picasso. All four illustrate, in different ways, the wretched state of screen biography.
Anyone who attends Surviving Picasso in the hope of…
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