Film Review: Prophecy

Scottish painter Peter Howson has a rather unique and remarkable style. However, you’re unlikely to find any work by the former official war artists of the Bosnian Civil War in a museum or gallery. The majority is housed in private collections. The paintings he produces are rather unique in many ways, largely due to Howson’s classical style which draws on religious beliefs, mythology and the likes of Goya and da Vinci. Not to mention his fiendish imagination.

Charlie Paul’s new documentary, Prophecy, follows the creation of Howson’s latest work, from inception to sale. As the Scotsman works on ‘Prophecy’ at his Glasgow studio, we’re afforded a unique glimpse into his creative process, formal technique and motives behind his subject and stylistic choices. As the camera rigorously documents the oil painting coming into being, he talks us through his methods and what’s going through his mind.

There’s something rather special about Prophecy. Watching and listening to Howson as he conjures magic on the canvass is akin to observing a dancer in full flow or an Olympic athlete. The way he works seems straightforward yet is absolutely inspired. This is enriched by a sumptuous orchestral score and Paul’s willingness to take creative risks himself. Prophecy is a fascinating, beautiful and assured documentary about the creation of art.

Prophecy is out in cinemas from 14 June.

Previous Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: Midnight Traveler
Next Incoming: A Season in France

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