Totally different, but also powerful and moving, is Pialat's take on Van Gogh (1991). On a second viewing, twenty years after its original release, I was struck by the superb performances, especially by Jacques Dutronc as the troubled artist. It is as it should be, an exquisitely colourful, beautifully photographed piece, full of surprises: the characters seem to live onscreen rather than 'act' in any costumed impersonation or BBC-style period drama. It's all strangely convincing, coolly framed yet highly emotional, unpredictable and always provocative.
One of the best-ever writers on cinema, David Thomson, who's invariably judicious, witty and illuminating, makes an apt final comment on Maurice Pialat in his indispensable New Biographical Dictionary of Film. Thomson links Pialat's humanist style and very distinctive approach to cinema with that of those other greats, Renoir, Ozu and Mizoguchi. Not much else to add! You can only agree with such an insightful and consistently reliable movie critic and biographer. And having now seen just four Pialat films out of what's a considerable oeuvre, I look forward to seeing as many of the others as possible.