Klimt documents the life and work of influential Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, whose lavish, sexual-charged paintings are considered some of the most influential works from the time period. A character study through and through, the film opens with Klimt lying on his deathbed as he recalls the early 1900s. A man with possibly more detractors than champions, we see everything from Klimt at work in his studio -with many woman who are willing participants for his desires, to his mother and sister, who both are suffering from mental illness. Raoul Ruiz's biopic is very interested in showing the many things which directly could have influenced Klimt as an artist, with almost everything in the film in one way or another, influencing the man and his work. Klimt is an ego-maniac, as most great artists tend to be, with Ruiz showing him as man who simply wasn't appreciated or understood in his time. Towards the end of the film, the lines between reality and fantasy become very blurred, as we are seeing the world through the eyes of Klimt, with the mental condition taking control of his mind. Compared to the other film by Ruiz I have seen, Klimt is much more subdued in its style and execution, mostly likely to fit the the biopic storyline better. Ruiz sure does know how to create an atmosphere though, with some vivid lighting and visual anecdotes which create a unique, heady atmosphere. Klimt does have some incredibly interesting experimental moments, as Ruiz uses some very fluid transitions, camera moments, and visual distortions, particularly when touching on Klimt's mental condition, which show a director who is clearly very interested in experimentation of the cinematic form. While Klimt is far from the great documentaries about artists like Ken Russell's Mahler, or Peter Watkin's Edvard Munch, it's fairly interesting and worth a watch for those interested in the subject matter.
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