Paul Gauguin feels smothered by the atmosphere prevailing in Paris in the year 1891. Around him, everything is so artificial and conventional: he needs authenticity to renew his art. Failing to convince his wife Mette and his five children to follow him to Paradise Lost, he sets out for Tahiti alone. Once there, he chooses to settle down in Mataiera, a village far away from Papeete, installing himself in a native-made hut. He soon starts working passionately, painting and carving in a style close to the primitive art specific to the island. During his two-year stay the artist will experience poverty, cardiac problems and other displeasures but also happiness in the arms of Tehura, a beautiful young native girl.
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Set in the not so distant future, in Any Town USA, sixteen year old Herman Howards makes a fateful decision. He enters his suburban school and kills thirty nine students, two teachers, and a police officer. Just before his arrest he emails his idol, famous journalist Lax Morales, sending him clips of the shootings captured with Herman’s own digital camera. In the clips Herman tells Lax, “I want to tell my story on your show”. Lax, haunted by his own past, is now face to face with Herman.
Stuck repeating the same pattern of mistakes again and again, Andrew Egan reluctantly accepts a teaching job to support his floundering, stand-up comedy career. As an increasingly anxious Andrew grows accustomed to the droll institution and its occupants he suspects that one of the students may be his downfall and that the previous teacher may not have left of his own accord. His life slowly unraveling, Andrew’s lessons fall on deaf ears and he soon becomes part of a larger cosmic joke.
The Newlyn School of artists flourished at the beginning of the 20th Century and the film focuses on the wild and bohemian Lamorna Group, which included Alfred Munnings and Laura and Harold Knight. The incendiary anti-Modernist Munnings, now regarded as one of Britain’s most sought-after artists, is at the centre of the complex love triangle, involving aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood and Gilbert Evans, the land agent in charge of the Lamorna Valley estate. True – and deeply moving – the story is played out against the timeless beauty of the Cornish coast, in the approaching shadow of The Great War.