Herbert Vesely was one of the promises for a new German cinema already in the 50's, but after the 60's his star was already dimmed. He made a small number of films in the 70's and 80's, all non too good. This biography of Egon Schiele, one of the most important Austrian artists, is an example of the pretensions and emptiness of a Vesely-film of later date.
The life of Schiele is presented here as a puzzle; well, Vesely thinks that Schiele's life was a puzzle: the core of the story is centered around the famous 1912 pornography trial and using this as base the film shows fragments of past and future. The problem is that it never becomes a unity and that the order of scenes and sequences seems to be at random: a cut-and-paste job that could have had any other result. Indeed, after seeing it twice I am almost convinced of it that a unsatisfactory linear thought-out film was changed into the puzzle in the editing room. Egon Schiele was an enigmatic man, but not a total puzzle, and this film does not bring him any closer.
The films also fails in conveying the eroticism and meaning of the Schiele's paintings: the camera watches and glides over the models without any understanding of Schiele's intentions, we only see beautiful naked bodies. If interested in Schiele, you better buy a book with his works in stead.
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