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DIM Cinema: William Klein's Messiah

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Although best known in the last century for his rule-breaking street photography — he’s been called “the poet of the epoch of McCarthy and the Bomb” (Max Kozloff) — William Klein became a prophet of this century through his filmmaking. Klein’s iconoclastic fiction films and expressionist documentaries had transported “the apocalyptic dreams and demagogic humours of the 1950s into the [mediascape] of the three subsequent decades” (Jonathan Rosenbaum). Who better, then, to usher in the millennium? Juxtaposing Handel’s Messiah with the everyday lives of people around the globe who sing it, Klein’s last film, first released in December 1999, is a state-of-the-world documentary for the new century, a message in a bottle that has at last reached our shore.

Messiah (Le Messie) France 1999. Dir: William Klein. 117 min. DCP

Programmed by Michèle Smith

“Anybody who pretends to be objective isn’t realistic.”
 WILLIAM KLEIN

Images © William Klein

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Still from William Klein's Messiah, 1999. © William Klein
Still from William Klein's Messiah, 1999. © William Klein

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