Friday, March 22, 2013

FIFA - 31st edition

Portrait of Wally, Egon Schiele
It's enough to make you want to move downtown. The International Festival of Films on Art runs for eleven days this month: Two hundred and forty-eight films from 28 countries in 9 venues. Topics include music, literature, architecture, film and fashion.

For fans of visual art, there are films on Degas, Dali, David, Miro and the Musée d'Orsay. I caught a fascinating film titled "Portrait of Wally", about the restitution of an Egon Schiele painting that was stolen by a Nazi collector. As with so many of the films shown, one of the key people involved in its making spoke passionately about the project after the screening. 

This subject has a special resonance for Montrealers, because of the Max Stern Art Restitution Project. Over the last ten years, ten paintings have been returned to the rightful heirs of Max Stern's estate: Concordia, McGill and the Hebrew University. The stories behind these struggles have all the elements of  international intrigue: evil-doers, forged documents, courtroom drama and beautiful paintings.

Because I had seen retrospective shows of Edward Hopper and George Bellows this year, it was a special treat to view films showcasing them and their work. I'm already looking forward to next year's FIFA.

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