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A portrait of artist Gustav Klimt

Raúl Ruiz’ meditation on Viennese fin-de-siècle painter Gustav Klimt, as played by John Malkovich in his aptly titled Klimt, is certainly a period film but far from a classical historical biopic with a linear narrative. Instead it explores the ills as well as the thrills of that specific period and personality in a holistic way, similar to Forman’s artistic meditation on Mozart, Amadeus, though Ruiz never exactly reaches the heights of Forman’s formal masterpiece, also because one central focus ("jealousy" in Amadeus) is missing here. The Chilean director and longtime resident of France approaches the story of Klimt as something which should be understood through the eyes of Klimt, something kaleidoscopic, mysterious, passionate and with a hint of danger that lurks beneath the surface. The film has been constructed as a series of scenes from the life of Klimt that show different facets of his personality and of life in Vienna at the fin-de-siècle.

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Directed by: 
Raoul Ruiz
Running Time: 
English and German/French with subtitles
John Malkovich, Veronica Ferres, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Dillane
Screenplay by: 
Raoul Ruiz translation by Gilbert Adair

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