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Review of ‘Hilma’ (2022): Failed but necessary

It is not often that biographies of painters come to our screens, even less of painters and even more absolutely strange that they are of an unknown artist. Of course, Hilma is a painter who should appear in all art books… and you’ll understand why.

The life of Hilma af Klimt is interesting in itself. What do you say your life? His mere existence. We are talking about a woman painter who, without contact with what was happening in the world of the avant-gardes, advanced to the same Kandinsky inventing abstract art (although, to be fair, that credit should go to the Japanese Sengai Gibon, who was already abstract a century earlier). Not only that, but he created a community of painters in his native Sweden. More avant-garde than the avant-garde themselves.

However, all her life Hilma considered herself a failure, an artist whom no one would understand. He didn’t move in the circles from which the most iconic art stars of the 20th century emerged and barely showed work. She ended up being forgotten, and it’s not like she was remembered much when she was alive. He refused to have his work exhibited until 20 years after his death. To this level of conviction that his art had no place. Despite this, she is the mother of one of the most important artistic trends in the plastic that has reached today. Little by little it is becoming more known, but almost exclusively in studies with a gender perspective, not much else.

Hilma 02

On top of that, even to discover abstract art was original. Kandinsky was obsessed with how music, the quintessential non-figurative art, was able to be, at the same time, the one that most emotionally impacts us. He wanted to translate the mechanisms of music into painting. His was a cerebral purpose, he wanted to create the ultimate art: Music painted in oil. Hilma, however, reached the abstract, seeking to represent what surrounds us but no one sees: The spiritual world, the energy that connects everything, that is inside and outside of us. In his own way, painting the abstract was for him to be more representative than anyone else.

I hope it’s clear that a fascinating character to make a film about…but one that he doesn’t direct Lasse Hallström. Let it be known that I find it admirable how it transcended the borders of Swedish cinema by placing itself in the international sphere. He was even nominated several times for the Oscars by Miramax and the Weinsteins The rules of the cider house i chocolate. Now, with these references you will be rubbing your hands, but relax that Hilma could have shot anyone. There is nothing personal, it seems to be made to order (and with little desire). The technical section is correct, but they have the same (little) desire as the director.

Hilma 01

And it’s a real shame, because only at the end of the film did we connect with Hilma who had to appear from the beginning. A fantastic one Lena Olin she embodies this misunderstood painter, who seeks to make herself heard but can’t find anyone to listen to her. That feeling of loneliness in the crowd that we’ve all felt at some point. With this Hilma af Klimt the viewer connects instantly, and it’s a shame that Lasse Hallström saw it when the film was already over and only because his wife comes out (he’s married to Olin).

There are glimmers until we get there, like when it shows a Hilma insecure in her relationships with the rest of the artists but desperate to get their approval. Little else, it’s interesting when we get to the end but Hallström gets lost along the way. For now, Hilma af Klimt is still searching for her place in cinema and art history, but at least someone has remembered her.

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