The first event of the new 2024 season of Great Art at Cinema by Nexo Digital will arrive in theaters for two days only, January 30th and 31st: KLIMT’S KISS.
The documentary film directed by Ali Ray investigates the history, sensuality, dazzling materials and mysteries of one of the most evocative, well-known and reproduced paintings in the world.
Painted around 1908, five years after Klimt’s visit to Ravenna and his fascination with the Byzantine mosaics, the work is one of the artist’s undisputed masterpieces. Born in Baumgarten, then a suburb of Vienna, to a goldsmith father and a mother passionate about opera music, Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) was a titan of the Secession, capable of creating new decadent worlds that fused sensuality and ancient mythology with the most radical modernity. Many of his paintings feature the beauty and mystery of the female body and in particular his “golden period” is characterized by a unique working method which allowed him to apply a very thin natural gold leaf to the canvas.
It is from this refined technique that some of his most famous works were born, including a timeless symbol of beauty and love, the iconic Kiss preserved at the Belvedere in Vienna, one of the first public museums in the world with its complex of baroque palaces and a garden that enchants visitors with its singular energy. The Belvedere, which welcomes 1 and a half million visitors every year, hosts the largest existing collection of Klimt’s paintings: twenty-four works supplemented by numerous permanent loans, including – indeed – the famous Kiss.
The film, enriched by the music of Asa Bennett, delves into the details of the gold of the painting, which give the compositions warm light and depth, decorative designs, symbolism and eroticism of Klimt. This exceptional voice of Viennese Secessionism, founded in 1897, is also intertwined with the instances of the Belle Epoque as well as with the thought of Sigmund Freud, inventor of psychoanalysis without which it would be more complex and perhaps impossible to read and interpret the different levels of the work of Klimt. We will therefore ask ourselves: how did Il Bacio become so famous?
To transform, among other things, into a pop icon and the most popular poster among those hanging on the walls of student dormitories from Beijing to Boston? A close study of the painting will lead us through the streets of extraordinary Vienna at the end of the century, when a new world collided with the old and modernity saw the light of day for the first time.
As director Ali Ray explains, “This golden, glittering image of an embracing couple remains one of the most popular ever. It is mentioned in films, it is featured on t-shirts, calendars and travel bags. However, when a work like The Kiss becomes so familiar, we stop “seeing” it. I wanted this film to remedy the problem. As one of the interviewees said: “The Kiss could only be painted when it was painted, exactly in that place and exactly by that artist”. Vienna at the beginning of the century was a glorious and fascinating city, but with a dark and intriguing side: over the course of the film we will discover that this golden painting echoes all these contradictions.”
PLAY-ART: Art told in music: GUSTAV KLIMT