Trailer for ‘Klimt’, by Raoul Ruiz, with John Malkovich and Saffron Burrows.

Teresa informed us more than a year ago that John Malkovich was playing the romantic painter Gustav Klimt. The director in charge of bringing the life of the artist from the beginning of the last century to the big screen, in the film ‘Klimt’, is Raúl or Raoul Ruiz, a Chilean filmmaker who lives in France and who has recently started pre-production on ‘Love and Virtue ‘, in which Malkovich and Burrows repeat and which we also recently informed you about.

The trailer for ‘Klimt’, which will be released on January 26, can be seen here and this is the official page.

The film transports us to the beginning of the s. XX, specifically to the year 1918 when the painter Gustav Klimt (John Malkovich) lies on his deathbed. From there, we will accompany you through your feverish visions to the Austrian pavilion of the International Exhibition, held in 1900 in Paris. There he will receive the gold medal for his work and we will witness his eternal but platonic relationship with Emilie Flöge (Verónica Ferres), as well as his encounters with the film magician Méliès, with the Secretary of State, an oppressive father figure who persecutes the artist. as a disturbing shadow throughout the film, and with the mysterious French dancer Lea de Castro (Saffron Burrows), with whom the painter maintains a passionate relationship. “From this first meeting, various episodes follow each other around the central theme of the relationship with Lea, which could actually be two or three different women. It is a sentimental adventure characterized by failed dates and a burning desire”, says Raoul Ruiz himself.

Trailer for ‘Klimt’, by Raoul Ruiz, with John Malkovich and Saffron Burrows

Gustav Klimt’s work reveals a fascinating expressiveness, passion and sensuality, and, like his own life, they are devoted to women. The painter had affairs with almost all his models and muses, relationships from which approximately 30 children were born. In his paintings and drawings, Klimt created a completely new image of femininity, a canon of beauty incomprehensible for the time based on eroticism, sensuality, paleness and extreme thinness that has come down to the present day. Without a doubt, Gustav Klimt was an artist ahead of his time, which brought him important recognition in Paris, but rejection and censorship in his hometown, Vienna. The director Raoul Ruiz does not hold back when reflecting on Klimt’s confrontation with the Austrian authorities and Viennese high society, which led to a dramatic incident: the artist’s theft of his own paintings that the State had seized from him and that were finally will be forced to buy to avoid imprisonment.

Raúl Ruiz uses facts, quotes and conversations from the environment close to Klimt to give authenticity to the action. The intimate friendship that united Klimt with the painter Egon Schiele composes the narrative voice of the film. In addition, the film constantly alludes to artistic figures of the stature of Wedekind, Altenberg or Bahr, personalities who, together with Klimt, carved out the cultural fabric of Vienna at the turn of the century. Both Gustav Klimt’s work and Ruiz’s own film are a masterful history lesson, an extraordinary visual and musical evocation of the turmoil that Vienna experienced with the arrival of the 20th century, the decline of the Habsburg Empire and the Belle Époque as a suggestive backdrop, with its repertoire of brilliant minds, intrigue and sexual tension. According to Ruiz himself, “This film is, in many ways, a waltz. It goes round and round, speeding up, dizzying and jubilant. After all, even the Viennese Waltz was shocking back then.”

Trailer for ‘Klimt’, by Raoul Ruiz, with John Malkovich and Saffron Burrows

Gustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna, in 1862 and died at the age of 56. Klimt did not take long to develop his artistic interest, thanks to the early influence of his father, a gold and silver engraver. In 1897, Klimt founded the Vienna Secession, a group of painters who rebelled against academic art in favor of a decorative style similar to Art Nouveau. Shortly afterwards he painted three allegorical murals for the ceiling of the auditorium of the University of Vienna, which were the subject of angry criticism: the erotic symbolism and pessimism of these three works caused such a scandal that the murals were rejected. His later works, the Beethoven Frieze and the Stoclet Palace murals are characterized by a precise and linear line, and by the decorative use of flat figures of various colors and gold foil. Some of Klimt’s most celebrated works include The Kiss and his portraits of Viennese high society ladies, such as Fritza Riedler and Adele Bloch-Bauer, which had a major influence on the Art Nouveau movement. Precisely this last portrait broke all records by reaching for a long time the highest sum ever paid for a painting (more than 107 million euros according to The New York Times).

But, as the director clarifies, “this film is not a linear biography of the life and times of Gustav Klimt. It is more of a fantasy or, if you prefer, a phantasmagoria, as if it were one of his paintings, where material and imaginary figures merge and flutter around a central point: the painter Klimt. My intention is to use the unique stylistic characteristics of Klimt’s work, the preponderance of beauty, excess color, spatial distortion and complex angles, to bring to life and illuminate one of the richest, most contradictory and extravagant eras in modern history.”

Trailer for ‘Klimt’, by Raoul Ruiz, with John Malkovich and Saffron Burrows

Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz has enjoyed international recognition since the early 1980s, as he has been considered one of the most innovative directors of recent years, having provided greater doses of artistic experimentation than any other filmmaker since Jean-Luc Godard. This prolific creator (with a resume of more than 50 films made in twenty years) began his career writing avant-garde plays, and then took his first steps in film directing in 1968, with the premiere of his film ‘Three sad tigers’ (1968). Ruiz, along with Miguel Littin and Aldo Francia, thus placed himself on the crest of the wave of Chilean cinema. As a left-wing activist who supported the government of Salvador Allende, Ruiz was forced to flee his country after the fascist coup of 1973. Exiled in Paris since then, his first great success would come in Europe with ‘The hypothesis of the stolen painting ‘ (1978), an intricate adaptation of Pierre Klossowski’s novel.

Ricardo Aronovich, one of the most internationally recognized directors of photography, is the one who has portrayed the images of this film. Aronovich began his career almost 40 years ago, together with the Brazilian Ruy Guerra and, since then, he has collaborated with directors such as Alain Resnais, Ettore Scola, Constantin Costa Gavras, Patrice Leconte and Andrzej Zulawski, among others.

Trailer for ‘Klimt’, by Raoul Ruiz, with John Malkovich and Saffron Burrows