Tuesday, April 19, 2016

In Brief: Liberators (2016) Dallas International Film Festival 2016

This is a  look at the the looting of a works of art from German after the Second World War. The film focuses on the case of treasures taken from Quedlinburg where the treasures that had been taken by the Germans had been placed in the cave which was found in cave.

This is a small story that represents a much bigger story. Focusing on objects that had been taken from the collection and had been mailed home to Texas the film reflects a story repeated hundreds of times in the post war period as GIs sent home souvenirs, except in this case it involved priceless works of art. Similar stories are playing out to this day.

Divided int to more or less three parts the film tells the story of the hunt for treasures, the story of the man who took the treasures and the aftermath of the announcement of the finding.

Things are set in motion when the German government started to pay students to look through the archives for clues as to where the various treasures might have gone. Through good luck and series of  chance meetings one investigator found that there was a chance that some of the objects might be in Texas. It seems that a GI had access to some of the found treasure and he began to mail home various pieces. The film follows the course of events which set off a fire storm of controversy when German government found out the NY Times had the story and splashed it on the front page, where previously they had been quietly buying back the objects.

This is a very good film which is much too short. by focusing so much on the one case the larger story kind of gets lost despite on screen text which tries to make the film bigger. The film also seems rushed in the final fifteen minutes as the film tries to tie everything up and to make sense of events in a larger scale. It doesn't quite work and what was for most of it's running time one of my favorite of recent films, deflated into being just a good film.

Despite that I suspect the film is going to have a nice long life after Dallas and I suspect that the film will end up at DOCNYC later in the year where I plan on taking another crack at it.

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