Egon Schiele: Tod und Mädchen
Biopic of the controversial Viennese artist whose erotic expressionist paintings were inspired by his sister Gerti and, later, by the red-haired Wally - immortalised in ‘Death and the Maiden’.
The movie is based on Hilde Berger’s novel and depicts Schiele (Noah Saavedra) as a charming young man completely obsessed with painting and unconcerned with contemporary sexual taboos. One of the most important women in his life, and his first nude model, is his younger sister Gerti (Maresi Riegner).
His relationship with her is warm, possessive, even slightly incestuous. Gerti enjoys sitting for her brother and jealously guards his relationships with the other models. She remains loyal to him throughout his life and even nurses him during the last days before his tragic death in 1918 at the age of 28.
The second key female figure in Schiele’s life is Wally (Valerie Pachner), introduced to him as a young girl by Gustav Klimt. They soon become lovers and form perhaps the closest relationship Schiele has with any woman other than his sister. It is Wally who is depicted in the 1915 painting that marked Schiele’s rise to his all-too-short-lived success in Vienna.
Like Gerti, Wally is fiercely loyal to Schiele and even saves him from imprisonment by testifying in his favour when he is arrested for engaging children as nude models. But Schiele’s own loyalty is primarily towards himself and his painting. This is the first of two films on Austrian painters, both directed by Dieter Bemer.