Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"The Man Who Saved the Louvre"

As part of Montreal's annual International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA), I attended a screening of "The Man Who Saved the Louvre", the compelling story of Jacques Jaujard, one-time Director of the Louvre. The 60-minute film is an effective blend of historic photos and film, with the addition of animation.
"In 1938, when France was hoping Hitler wouldn’t invade, one man, Jacques Jaujard, thankfully foresaw what was coming. He knew that if Paris were bombed or seized, a trove of valuable artworks would be destroyed or looted. As this film explains, for Jaujard, director of the Louvre Museum, saving this artistic heritage was equivalent to saving world heritage, and even humanity itself. In August 1939, ten days before France declared war on Germany, Jaujard closed the doors of the Louvre; that same night, 800 works were packed up with the help of a team Jaujard had organized months before. Filmed historical footage and animated segments tell the tale of this daring rescue operation spearheaded by an almost anonymous visionary who ended up saving the Louvre."

To get a sense of the dramatic story and the restrained use of animation, have a look at this trailer. Released in 2014, this documentary may soon play at your local theatre, or on a specialty television channel.


Dianne Robinson said...

I just watched the trailer. What an amazing story!

Heather Dubreuil said...

Even more interesting was how he continued to move the collection around France during the war to evade the occupiers. After the war, Jaujard was succeeded by a rival who snubbed him and he spent his last decade shuttled to the sidelines.

Anonymous said...

For the story, especially Jaujard's role, in more detail, read the award-winning book, Saving Mona Lisa: The Battle to Protect the Louvre and its Treasures During World War II.