Monday, May 15, 2017

ANGEL WAGENSTEIN: ART IS A WEAPON (2017) plays this week in Washington DC and is a must see

I had seen ANGEL WAGENSTEIN: ART IS A WEAPON in work print form back in January for the New York Jewish Film Festival and liked it enough that I wanted to wait until I could see the finished film until I reviewed it. However my feelings were strong enough that I mentioned in the curtain raiser for NYJFF that despite my seeing an unfinished form of the film I thought it was good enough to recommend that people see it. I then went on my way not expecting to run into the film until it got off the festival circuit.

And then a funny thing happened. I got an email from the production company. It seems someone had seen my note in the curtain raiser and asked if I wanted to see the finished film. I of course said yes...

...and now ANGEL WAGENSTEIN: ART IS A WEAPON is one of my favorite films of 2017.

I love it when you see a film that does more than just entertains- Wagenstein is a character and what he has done will often bring a smile to your face. At the same time the film is incredibly serious and full of things that transcend a simple biography. This is a man who has survived 90 plus years and has pissed off a variety of people for a variety of reasons- as one person says he was viewed by the communists as "that Jew" and later after the revolution by others as "that communist". He is a man who has a lot to say about the human condition and he shares it in his interviews and in his art.

That's how you know how good this film is- I've seen it three times in a couple of weeks and I'm looking to see it again sooner than later. Why? Because I am enlightened by the film each time I see it. There is always something I didn't catch the time before.

Ultimately I keep returning to ART IS A WEAPON because of Angel Wagenstein.  To me watching the film is like spending time with a man you admire and find enlightening. Watching the film I find that despite the talking heads and film clips I feel as though I'm spending time with the man himself. While many people speak of him each person reveals some small part of the man himself. The little pieces create a greater picture of the man - certainly more than anyone person could do.

I should probably confess something here and say that while I have seen several films that Wagenstein has been involved in I'm not always a fan. The execution isn't always the best even if his ideas intrigue. Films like his life of Goya can be uneven, some others can be too heady.  But at the same time there is a truth in them that keeps you returning to them. For better or worse you know when you are done with them that you have actually seen something.

Not to put too fine a point on it ART IS A WEAPON is amazing. It is an ever enriching film that alters how you see the world and yourself.

I can’t recommend this film enough. Its is great portrait of a great man and it will make you a better person.

The film plays this week in Washington DC on May 18th (7 PM) and May 2ost (12 noon)

It will play in Berlin mid-July

Additional dates will be coming Barcelona and Madrid September, Bulgaria October 11th, Dallas in December. London in Feb. 2018

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