Peter Gerstenzang
April 18, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Though they’re ubiquitous in rental stores, VHS copies of the new-to-tape biopic Surviving Picasso, starring Anthony Hopkins, aren’t exactly flying off the new-release shelves. Why would they? The movie portrays a towering creative talent as a nasty old man and hardly brings his work alive. If you’re up for a more artful film about a great painter, we suggest you white out Picasso and brush up on one of these tortured-artist flicks. Just don’t expect photorealism.

Lust for Life (1956)
Portrait of: Vincent van Gogh (Kirk Douglas) circa 1884-90. Missing from this picture: Images of several key canvases that the artist’s nephew refused to allow the filmmakers to photograph. Neatest visual motifs: The way director Vincente Minnelli transforms the stylized bedrooms, wheat fields, and lemon yellow sunscapes of the artist’s canvases into walk-through sets. B+

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