Julien Temple has always made interesting films, some very flawed (The Great Rock'n' Roll Swindle), some flawed but kinda great (Absolute Beginners) , some just plain odd but charming all the same- such as the underrated Earth Girls Are Easy (1989). Along with The Filth & The Fury (2000) and Pandemonium (1999), Vigo: A Passion for Life is one of his strongest works.
It is a biopic of French director Jean Vigo, whose short career saw him make the surreal classic Zero de Conduite (1933- major influence on Lindsay Anderson's If..., in turn a major influence on Temple) & L'atalante- a longer work whose influence can be detected in films like Eloge de l'amour and Faraway, So Close!
As with many biopics, this was heavily criticised by the establishment (Sight & Sound for one), who would hate any film on a key auteur such as Vigo. Despite the fact it is based on both a play of Vigo's life (Love's a Revolution by Chris Ward) & a biography (Jean Vigo by Paulo Emilio-Salles). As with all biopics, it must be noted- this is just an interpretation!
The cast are very good, and it is nice to see an international co-production (this is a British/French/Japanese/Spanish film). The highlight for me is the performance by the wonderful Romane Bohringer (L'appartment, Savage Nights, Portrait Chinois, Mina Tannenbaum)- who is never less than divine on screen and excels here as Vigo's TB-afflicted lover. In time, Vigo: A Passion for Life should become more appreciated, as I think it is an interesting cinematic take on the life of a great figure within world cinema.