Monday, February 17, 2014

"Monuments Men" Movie Leaves Me Wanting More

To do justice to the confiscation and distraction of precious and sacred works or art during Word War II you would need a mini-series, preferably co-produced by the French, Italians and British.
George Clooney was hoping to shrink this huge topic down to less than two hours in the movie “Monuments Men” which may explain why the reviews have been negative.  Although the movie was episodic and slightly confusing, it was also suspenseful in part and the sets and acting were top rate.
Why should we care about European monuments and fine art when millions of people died in the Nazi gas ovens or were killed in combat?  To answer that you need Sir Kenneth Clarke, who explained the relevance of art and architecture to civilization in the BBC TV series “Civilisation.”
“Monuments Men” opens with Clooney showing a slide of the Cassino (Italy) monastery leveled by the Allied bombers, but he doesn’t say that precious frescos were lost.  So why should we care and that is the difficulty in making “Monuments Men,” based on actual events?  Viewing the 2006 documentary “The Rape of Europa” is useful before seeing the Clooney movie.

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