St. Moritz Art Film Festival


Christian Labhart
Giovanni Segantini - The Magic of Light

2015 color PG En/en 01:22:00

Painter, anarchist, downshifter, undocumented immigrant: this was Giovanni Segantini. He created monumental works, many under the open sky, in which tired, simple, people with sunken gazes are embedded in an idealized Alpine landscape. In the course of his life he climbed higher and higher, up the mountains, in search of more light. At 41, he died in Engadin, in dramatic circumstances, in a mountain cabin at 2700 meters.

Giovanni Segantini lived from 1858 to 1899. His autobiographical texts, read by Bruno Ganz, the words taken from Asta Scheib’s bestseller „Das Schönste, was ich sah“, Paul Gigers’ music interpreted by the Carmina Quartet and the impressions of Pio Corradi all make up an essay film that allows direct access to Segantini’s life and work. The viewer’s eye is not distracted by commentaries; the painter and his words stand at the film’s center. The original paintings were filmed with a special high-resolution camera to achieve color fidelity. 

The film sheds lights on Segantini’s dramatic childhood and youth; it takes part in the mental processes and crises he experienced in his life as a painter, in his financial distress, in his contradictory feelings towards motherly love and eroticisim and, finally, in his hopeless fight against death. The result is an emotional journey into the abysses of a deeply hurt soul and in the work of an ingenious artist, whose international success came late, only shortly before his premature death.

A quiet, meditative film, an antithesis to the world’s noise and to mainstream consumption – an homage to Giovanni Segantini. 


Christian Labhart