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William Klein Tribute at Thessaloniki Film Fest

The Tribute to the American director, photographer, graphic designer and painter William Klein, presented in the 48th Thessaloniki International Film Festival is formed by celebrated, as well as unknown photographs, and a considerable cinematic body of work, largely unknown in Greece. The exhibition complementing the Tribute is a collaboration between the TIFF and the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art.  Klein was born in the US in 1928, the child of Hungarian immigrants. He left America at the age of 18 and served in the army in occupied Germany. Soon after he moved to Paris, where he studied painting under Fernand Léger, but ultimately became fascinated by stills photography. In 1954, Alexander Liebermann, art director of Vogue, hired Klein; his work for the magazine revolutionized the established rules of fashion photography, with location shoots, unorthodox use of lenses and other novel techniques. As soon as he was established as a famous fashion photographer, he turned his sights to cinema and started shooting films, without giving up his photography work. Political, unorthodox and innovative, Klein turns his camera to current events and social issues: the Vietnam War, rock and roll, May 1968, racism, reality shows, popular sports and religion. His latest film, Messiah, scored by Handel’s homonymous oratorio, is a surrealist piece “conducted” by inmates, policemen and drug addicts.  

Klein, who has not had any formal photographic training, uses his camera to record action and to capture fleeting life. His exhibition in the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art will consist of stills from New York (1954-55), Tokyo (1961), Moscow (1959-60) and Paris (1957-today), fashion editorials and behind-the-scenes from Vogue, excerpts from the films Broadway by Light, Ralentis, and Contacts, paintings, film posters and his famous painted contact sheets. For the first time, Klein will present a series of previously unpublished photographs from Greece (1957 and 1963), having captured Melina Merkouri in the arms of Sir Peter Ustinov, ancient statues that seem to spring to life and everyday faces of the 50s and the 60s.


William Klein will attend the Festival for its entire duration and will present his work to the public, press and guests of the TIFF. The exhibition is curated by Marion Inglessi.  Films presented in the Tribute   1965-66       Who are you Polly Maggoo? (Jean Vigo Award)1967-68       Mr. Freedom1970                    Eldridge Cleaver Black Panther1974            Muhammad Ali the Greatest1975-76                Le Couple Témoin1978           Grands Soirs et Petits Matins1993           In and Out of Fashion1999-2000  Le Messie 

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