Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. Austria/France/Germany/United Kingdom, 2006. Österreichisches Filminstitut, Filmfonds Wien, Eurimages, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, ORF Film/Fernseh-Abkommen, ARD Degeto Film, Epo-Film Produktionsgesellschaft, Film-Line Produktion, Lunar Films, Gemini Films, Andreas Schmid, Film-Line Productions GmbH, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen. Idea by Herbert Vesely, Screenplay by Raoul Ruiz, script translation by Gilbert Adair. Cinematography by Ricardo Aronovich. Produced by Matthew Justice, Arno Ortmair, Dieter Pochlatko, Andreas Schmid. Music by Jorge Arriagada. Production Design by Rudolf Czettel, Katharina Woppermann. Costume Design by Birgit Hutter. Film Editing by Valeria Sarmiento.
Raoul Ruiz employs the same free camera movement and loose narrative style that made Time Regained such a masterpiece for this less successful but still worthwhile portrait of Gustav Klimt, the revolutionary artist whose work scandalized, thrilled and enlightened pre-World War I Vienna. John Malkovich stars as the artist, suffering from syphilis and enduring all manner of hallucinatory relationships as he navigates his way through upper class European society in an effort to remain true to his singularity of vision. It’s a stunningly beautiful effort, richly colourful and decadent to the hilt, but its main drawback is that it doesn’t focus enough on the great artist’s work, or on his process of creating that work. Lovers of renegade art-house cinema will be in heaven, while the more narratively-oriented will find the entire experience frustrating and confusing.