“Klimt & Schiele – Eros and Psyche” (2018)
Running Time: 93 minutes
Written by: Arianna Marelli
Directed by: Michele Mally
Featuring: Lorenzo Richelmy, Lily Cole, Maxi Blaha and Rudolf Buchbinder
Gustav Klimt: “No part of life is so small and insignificant that it does not offer space for artistic aspirations”
Released recently on DVD is the documentary “Klimt & Schiele – Eros and Psyche” (2018) that is based around the artists Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt as well as three exhibitions that featured their works.
At the beginning of 1900, Vienna became the European capital of thought and the arts, in an era destined to end with the First World War and the fall of the Hapsburg Empire. Its elegant streets graced the presence of Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the young Ludwig Wittgenstein, and future directors Fritz Lang and Erich von Stroheim, while Alma Mahler used to invite musicians and intellectuals to her prestigious living room. The first of her many lovers was in fact Gustav Klimt, the star of the Vienna Secession art movement.
A portrait of a highpoint that had a truly unique cultural spirit and in which taboos were broken and the rules of upper-middle classes of Viennese society and the Western world were overcome. A time when the erotic relationship between the two sexes was turned on its head, allowing women to assume roles that had been unthinkable until that point in time: Hermine Hug-Hellmuth, one of the first women to be admitted to Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, published a diary on the sexual life of young women, while Dora Kallmus’ photographic studio became famous all over Vienna, and Berta Zuckerkandl opened up her living room to some of the most prominent artists. The artistic vision and turmoil represented in paintings by Klimt and Schiele communicate with us with undeniable talent. And films such as this only serve to highlight just how much the freedom of art and culture is in danger in modern times.
The documentary begins in 1918 as the roar of the First World War cannons are dying out, in Vienna, the heart of Central Europe, a golden age comes to an end. The Austro-Hungarian Empire is beginning to disintegrate. On the night of October 31st, in the bed of his home, Egon Schiele dies, one of the 20 million deaths caused by the Spanish flu. He dies looking at the invisible evil in the face, in the only he can do: painting it. He is 28 years old. Only a few months earlier, the main hall of the Secession building had welcomed his works: 19 oil paintings and 29 drawings. His first successful exhibition, a celebration of a new painting idea that portrays the restlessness and desires of mankind. A few months earlier, his teacher and friend Gustav Klimt had died. From the turn of the century, he had fundamentally changed the feeling of art and founded a new group: the Secession. The documentary film Klimt & Schiele – Eros and Psyche, will recount this extraordinary season: a magical moment for art, literature, and music, in which new ideas are circulated, Freud discovers the drives of the psyche, and women begin to claim their independence. An age that revealed the abysses of the ego, in which today we’re still reflecting ourselves. The film will take us through 3 stunning exhibitions:- Vienna 1900. Klimt – Moser – Gerstl – Kokoschka (Leopold Museum);- Egon Schiele. The Jubilee Show (Leopold Museum);- Stairway to Klimt. Eye to Eye with Klimt & Nuda Veritas (Kunsthistorischesmuseum).
“Klimt & Schiele – Eros and Psyche” is directed with determination, skill and clarity by relative newcomer Mateusz Stolecki, he is able to enhances the film’s shapes and colours, the 4K theatrical version takes viewers on a journey inside the innovative works of art by the two great artists, as well as through history itself, accompanied by the voice of the actor Lorenzo Richelmy. The other element of the movie are the readings by the actress Lily Cole, speeches by theNobel prize winner for medicine and neuroscience Eric Kandel, the art historians Alfred Weidinger and Jane Kallir, musicologist Bryan Gilliam and the pianist Rudolf Buchbinder.
The artistic vision and turmoil represented in paintings by Klimt and Schiele communicate with us with undeniable talent. And films such as this only serve to highlight just how much the freedom of art and culture is in danger in modern times.