The big names in cinema and this year’s most talked-about films
FRANCE, Germany, Russia
| 90 minutes | 2014
In 1939, mere days before the outbreak of war, the Louvre took steps to safeguard its priceless treasures, spiriting them to safety before the German troops could take possession. Two men aligned in artistic sensibility were thus forced to square off: Count Franz Wolff-Metternich (Benjamin Utzerath), an aristocrat appointed by the Wehrmacht to oversee art protection in France; and Jacques Jaujard (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), deputy head of the Louvre and a high-ranking government official. Following up on Russian Ark, his dazzling single-take tour of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, director Alexander Sokurov turns his lens on the rooms, corridors and galleries of the Louvre to compose this docufiction essay that mixes past and present, dream and reality. Presented in competition at Venice (where Sokurov’s Faust carried off the main prize in 2011) and offering a highly nuanced look at the relationship between art and power, this meditation on civilization and violence is heightened by the sublime compositions of cinematographer (and erstwhile collaborator) Bruno Delbonnel.
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