Egon Schiele is one of the most provocative artists in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th Century. His life and work are driven by beautiful women and an era that is coming to an end. Two ...
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Egon Schiele is one of the most provocative artists in Vienna at the beginning of the 20th Century. His life and work are driven by beautiful women and an era that is coming to an end. Two women will have a lasting impact on him - his sister and first muse Gerti, and 17 year old Wally, arguably his one true love, immortalized in his famous painting 'Death and the Maiden'. His radical paintings scandalize Viennese society while daring artists like Gustav Klimt and art agents alike are sensing the exceptional. But he is also prepared to go beyond his own pain and to sacrifice Love and Life for his art that inspires us up to this day.
During several closeups it can be seen that Noah Saavedra (Egon) and Valerie Pachner (Wally) are wearing contact lenses. The distinctive transparent rings around the irises are clearly showing. See more »
a diligent but anodyne biopic
A biopic of Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918), what instantaneously catches our eyes is the pulchritude of its leading actor Noah Saavedra, whose Adonis appearance becomes almost too distracting for the movie's own good, but it shouldn't take the credit away from Saavedra's immersed embodiment of the ill-reputed expressionist, who leaves a vast legacy to this world after his own ephemeral and turbulent life.
After opening the picture with a frenzied sequence of some sort of familial turmoil and envisaging a moribund Schiele smitten with the Spanish flu pandemic in his last days, director Dieter Berner discerningly unspools Schiele's final decade chronologically through the relations with his models: from his underage sister Gerti (Riegner), with whom he forms an intimate bond teetering on the brink of incest, to a tableau-vivant performer Moa (Breidbach), then his bona-fide muse Wally Neuzil (Pachner), whom he first encounters in the studio of his mentor Klimt (Obonya), until his ill- matched bourgeois wife Edith Harms (Marie Jung), only to coyly divulge Schiele's feckless penchant towards his conquests, chiefly for the sake of artistic inspiration and utilitarian purpose, art first, women second, seems a fitting watchword for him.
It is Egon and Wally's romantic liaison highlights the narrative, and a sylph-like Valerie Pachner gives her best in projecting Wally's emotional gamut out of their artist-and-muse equilibrium, in particular during Schiele's scandalous trial of pornography and pedophilia (another taboo topic subjected to an ambiguous brush), her conflicted reaction stays with audience longer than the artist's outrage of witnessing one of his paintings being torched. But Berner ultimately sweetens the pill of their fallout, which prompts the name-change of the film's titular painting, out of the reverence to Egon's posthumous fame.
As picturesque as a painter's biopic could ever be, Berner's diligent but anodyne work doesn't pack a substantial punch which would be in concordance with his subject's singularities, especially that unique characteristic stemming from his licentious, tempestuous persona, still eludes us after him shuffling off this mortal coil.
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