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A character study and a meditation on art in a time of opulence and syphilis. Gustave Klimt (1862-1918) lies in hospital, dying. In reveries, he recalls the early 1900s: it's fin de siècle Vienna. At the World Exposition in Paris, Klimt meets Georges Méliès, who does a moving picture for him, and Klimt falls under the spell of a woman who may be Lea de Castro. We see Klimt in his studio; we meet his mother and sister, who suffer from mental illness. We watch Klimt the libertine. On his deathbed and as a younger man, he imagines things as well: encounters with ministers and waiters and with women who are willing participants in his pleasures. Is this the source of art? Written by
When Klimt mashes the cake in the man's face, the icing on the man's face is not covering his right eye. In the next close-up shot, there is a large blob of icing covering the man's right eye. In the next long shot when Klimt starts to wipe the man's face, the icing is no longer covering the man's right eye again. See more »
"This film wasn't released, it escaped"--Catskills Folk Saying
"I want to wash out my brain." "Did I miss something or did this film stink?" Comments heard on exiting the screening of "Klimt" at the Siskel Film Center, Chicago July 4, 2007
Hunter S. Thompson blew the journalistic world away by openly reporting events through the prism of his own drug-soaked experience. Terry Gilliam's cinematic portrayal of this in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" conveyed this brilliantly.
So far as I know, Gustav Klimt did not portray his artistic vision in an ether-soaked stupor or in a state of syphilitic delirium. My problem with Mr. Ruiz portraying him as though he did is that Klimt actually led an exuberant revolutionary artistic movement in a city and continent exploding with creative energy, and this portrayal could hardly be farther from the truth. Even a non-linear poetic portrayal of the creative process should shed some truth on its essence.
The tone of the movie was static, suffocating, semi-conscious and joyless. Klimt's life was full of color, sexual experimentation and living life to its fullest, so it additionally seems odd that John Malkovich sleepwalks through his performance with less joy than Rod Steiger in "The Pawnbroker."
If Mr. Ruiz wanted to make a film about a fever-dream (Klimt died of pneumonia following a stroke, not of tertiary syphilis as suggested in the film), perhaps he should have entitled it "Fever-Dream: with a whimsical guest appearance by my fantasy of Gustav Klimt."
This film may be of use to film students to prove that images and sound do not automatically add up to a movie.
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