Egon Schiele Exzess und Bestrafung  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Egon Schiele Exzess und Bestrafung, also known as Excess and Punishment(English) and Egon Schiele, enfer et passion (French) is a 1980 film based on the life of the Austrian artist Egon Schiele. It stars Mathieu Carriere as Schiele with Jane Birkin as his artist muse Wally and Christine Kaufmann as his wife Edith and Christina Van Eyck as her sister. The film is essentially a depiction of obsession and its constituients of sex, alcohol and uncontrolled emotions. Set in Austria during the Great War Schiele is depicted as the agent of social change leading to destruction of those he loves and ultimately of himself.

The film is an international co-production with actors of German, French, Dutch and English origin. It was directed by Herbert Vesely and produced by Dieter Geissler and Robert Hess. The cinematography is by Rudolf Blahacek and the haunting music is by Brian Eno. The English language version of the film is entitled Egon Sciele Excess & Punishment.


The final years of the short life of Egon Schiele, the Austrian expressionist painter are chronicled against the backdrop of the final years of the Habsburg rule. The story begins around 1912 as Schiele (Mathieu Carriere) and his mistress and artistic muse Wally (Jane Birkin) are befriended by an obsessed teenage girl (Nina Fallenstein) who has run away to be with Schiele. Subsequently Schiele is imprisoned on the grounds that he has behaved in a sexually improper way towards the young woman.The young women falsely accuses Schiele and although he denies the charge he is imprisoned. The girl withdraws her accusations but Schiele is requested to leave the area as he has offended the social mores of the conservative society in which he was living. Those offended include his mother (Angelika Hauff) who rails against his lax morals.

On his release his excesses continue although he fights (literally) to conform even volunteering to serve in the Austrian army in the Great War. As a soldier Schiele cuts a pathetic figure and he is quickly removed as unsuitable. He disposes of his alcoholic mistress and has an affair with a society beauty who ultimately abandons him as she can not cope with his sexual obsessions. Schiele's emotional cruelty is exposed as he shuns Wally as she nears death.Their parting scene at a Vienna social gathering reveals a corruption and cruelty that is at the heart of Schiele's artistic soul.

Schiele's paintings however develop greater depths as he pushes his body and emotions to their limit. Whilst his paintings are gaining acceptance (and many now hang in the Leopold Museum in Vienna) his own sanity suffers. He marries and appears to find a modicum of contentment until his wife Edith (Christine Kaufman) dies in the 1919 Spanish Influenza pandemic. Schiele makes love to his dying wife in a scene that is both tender yet desperately shocking evoking as it does a central theme in Schiele's work of a link between sex and death. Shortly afterwards Schiele himself contracts Influenza and dies.

The locations for the film were Vienna and in the Croatian capital Zagreb


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Egon Schiele Exzess und Bestrafung" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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