DVD - 2016 | French
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Set against the history and artworks of Paris' famed Louvre Museum, master director Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) embarks on a uniquely personal exploration of the profound cultural legacy of WWII's Nazi occupation of France. Using rare archives and beautifully staged recreations, Sokurov re-envisions two remarkable real-life figures: enemies-turned-collaborators Jacques Jaujard, director of French National Museums, and Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich, a German officer and art historian leading the Reich's art collection efforts. The tentative alliance that formed between two men would transcend nationalism and lead to the preservation of many of the world's greatest treasures. Depicting the Louvre as a living, breathing paragon of civilization, Francofonia delivers a mesmerizing and urgently relevant meditation on the essential relationship between art, history and culture.
Publisher: Chicago, IL :, Music Box Films,, [2016]
Edition: Widescreen
Branch Call Number: DVD 708.4 FRA NVD
Characteristics: DVD video
video file,region 1,rda
widescreen (1.66:1)
digital,optical,Dolby Digital 5.1,rda
4 3/4 in.,stamping,rda
1 videodisc (approximately 87 minutes) : sound, color, with black & white sequences ; 4 3/4 in.


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Feb 06, 2018

Great film for the fan of French/Russian art and history! This film can be viewed on so many levels that it calls for repeated viewings. While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, it IS important for no other reason than to see the interior of the Louvre and to appreciate the camera work and the time involved in the making of this film Highly, highly recommend!

Not easy to follow. It took concentration go get through it.

Oct 08, 2017

I am not an art historian! You may not be one either, but know of the treasured Louvre museum of Paris! How did it survive the bombings of World War II? The answer is quite amazing! It seems two men were instrumental in saving some of the world most precious art works. I haven't been to Paris, but if I do, I certainly will now know more about the history of the Louvre!

Oct 04, 2017

Who needs France without the Louvre?
Actually, the nice bonus documentary The Man Who Saved the Louvre (narrated by Mathieu Amalric) is like supplement of The Rape of Europa, but on the France perspective, whereas the latter is on the Jewish perspective. Certainly, one is taken on France fund, the other is taken on Jewish fund.

Aug 15, 2017

C'est d'une monotonie lamentable!!!

Aug 14, 2017

When I picked it up, I mistakenly thought it was the 2014 movie, "Diplomatie." The director, Alexander Sokurov, describes the aim of the film as "fully conscious," rather than historic or scientific. I appreciated that it was factual, but it was also very muddled.

Aug 10, 2017

An interpretation of what had happened to the Louvre and interactions between its French and German minders when Paris was occupied by the Nazis. It was too bad that the director decided to present the story with special lighting and camera tricks to simulate vintage newsreel. 90 minutes of factoids on the transformation of the museum through the centuries and the Louvre director Jacques Jaujard's efforts to save masterpieces before the arrival of the German troops in the Summer of 1940. Reminded me of books and films like "All The Lights We Cannot See" and "The Monuments Men." Excellent cinematography but not the segments with fake vintage look.
Note: Interesting take on Captain Dirk in "Summary."

Jul 03, 2017

If Sokurov had restrained his tendency to do everything to excess, this could have been a masterpiece. Instead it is a haunting, interesting, flawed, often frustrating film. He hits us over the head with the symbolism: the ship of modern cultural treasures at risk in a storm of (unnamed) terrorists and religious fanatics destroying the world’s heritage and in near-bankrupt countries who can no longer provide even minimal protection for their collections, even if not under attack. Will Captain Kirk --- oops – Dirk capsize or will the art in his cargo hold reach a safe port? The present day crisis pops up repeatedly, as if to ask "is anyone paying attention TODAY?", and contrasts with the heroic efforts of Louvre director Jaujard and the aristocratic Metternich. In the midst of WWII Sokurov reminds us – with the annoying pop-up Napoleon – that many of the treasures that must be saved from war are here because of war -- brought to France as booty in wars from past centuries. He bitterly contrasts the preservation of Paris' treasures by the “We Love Art” Germans with the devastation of Britain and Russia – mostly Russia, by these same Germans. Surrender has its rewards, he sadly muses in the over-the-top dramatic style that is the film’s main drawback. Pictures of many of the sublime sculptures help compensate for some of the problems, although these are too often done with such tortured camera angles and in such darkness that they are also frustrating (yes, we get it: the shadows of war and moral ambiguity fall upon them . . . but could we please just SEE them ? ) In short: really important message and thought-provoking questions in a flawed, brooding film. The documentary on Jaujard and the German Metternich tells the historical facts in a straightforward yet chilling, thrilling, terrifying manner. I give this "Extra feature" 5 stars.

Not the most accessible of art documentaries. If you liked "Russian Ark," you will probably like this one. Frankly, we enjoyed the straightforward documentary (a bonus on the DVD) on Jaujard, the forgotten hero who saved the treasures of the Louvre from the Nazi kleptomaniacs. The ingenious way that the animated figure of Jaujard was superimposed on real films of the Louvre was well done. A good non-fiction background to the Hollywood movie with George Clooney and friends rescuing piles of art from German salt mines.

Jan 22, 2017

A meditation on war, art, and the price of peace -- the wars in this case being between France and Germany, and the art located in the seemingly indestructible Louvre. The director, a Russian whose country had the privilege of being invaded by both these countries at the height of their military powers, adores the museum, but regarding the conflicts, maintains his skeptical outsider's perspective. He meanders, comes to no conclusions, and ends his film abruptly. The disappointment of viewers who expect a straightforward documentary about clear cut good triumphing over clear cut evil, or vice versa, is understandable. But Francofonia has a haunted quality. It is filled with hungry spirits who loved art, and thought they could possess it.

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Aug 10, 2017

So the German army has entered Paris. Yes, 1940. Summer... Summer.
The army creeps forward, creeps without any great haste. Paris is now an open city. Yet someone knew it would turn out this way. How many more are to come? Yes, they're neighbors, we know them, but we weren't expecting them, didn't invite them.
For some reason, Europeans developed the wish, the necessity, of painting people, faces... With a brisk whistle, he will have the forbidden light extinguished. Why is this study so important to Europeans, while other people, such as the Muslims, don't have it at all? Who would I have been, had I never known or seen the eyes of those who lived before me?

Aug 10, 2017

At the start of the War, the French apparently didn't want to believe in a total and ferocious war with their European sister. The young French soldiers resisted as best they could, but their politicians struggled among
themselves and forgot about their land. The state yields to Nazi force. The state restrains its army. French losses for this period:
tens of thousands of soldiers. Millions of refugees. The map of the French Republic. And this is already a different country. It's called the French State. It's no longer a republic. Parliament is dissolved. There is no president. This line is where German troops decided to stop. From then on, the country consisted of two parts: the occupied, and the not yet taken.
This is what the border between them looks like. The government of new France is formed in the small town of Vichy. It's a resort... waters, clinics...

Aug 10, 2017

The beauty of an ancient world. These are but fragments of that civilization. Assyria. All of this once decorated the king's palace in the Assyrian capital. That state is long gone, but these messages from 700 BC summon numerous strange feelings. Lamassu, winged bulls. Threatening and naive, like in the fairy tales. The fear of power. Fear in the face of power. Brilliance of craftsmanship, the perfect creation of fear. In the 19th century, all this was brought by ship from afar to the Louvre. Some items were bought... some were war trophies. But on that long voyage, in severe storms, overloaded ships sank to the bottom. Uncounted are the creations hidden from us in the suffocating depths, and uncounted the seamen who perished. What a price... And for what?

Aug 10, 2017

M. Jaujard told me in detail how the Louvre's collection was evacuated to various chteaux. They have lots of space, no risk of bombings, huge cellars. I'm visiting Chteau de Sourches tomorrow. Would you care to accompany me?
Do you think Paris may be bombed? London and Rotterdam were bombed.
Look at the photos on my desk back there. Did you know in Germany that the Louvre was empty?
-What do you think? They packed 6000 crates, how could it be a secret?
The human search for form, the battle against imitation. The screams and moans. The discovery of the soul... and the incomprehension as to what to do with the mortal and now superfluous body. The hand is truly smarter than the head. It forms and creates faster than a thought is born. This sculpture is 9000 years old. And it was found in Jordan, in 1972.

Aug 10, 2017

To this very piece of land, a little over one square kilometer, these French kings and architects are to cling, as if following a premonition, and will work this land, build on it, rebuild it, and pass it on, one to the next, without relenting. Chteaux, palaces, palaces, chteaux... a museum. They will never lose ground, regardless of revolution or elemental force, until it can finally be proclaimed: Our Louvre has been built. That hardest, most tormenting time, the Revolution. Executions, killings... Great names flimmered, blood was spilled... Grand words were spoken. Human rights, citizens, constitution. Famine, guillotine, republic, democracy. The young Napoleon decided war would save the land. War. ... It was he who transformed the Louvre into an official museum, the place where artistic war trophies are kept. Suddenly the state understands that it cannot exist without museums.

Aug 10, 2017

We do have such extraordinary writers, philosophers. Our artists are such visionaries who dearly love humans. And in the Louvre, everything is about
how people struggled, loved, killed, repented, lied and cried.
France, France... How lucky you were that your sister, Germany, recognized your right to exist. What will become of those whose human nature she does not acknowledge? Bolshevik Russia, for example. Oh, that Bolshevism, the Bolsheviks... how they resisted... fought for every Russian village and city. The German military followed Hitler's orders:
Art monuments on the Eastern Front have no significance and shall be consigned to destruction. The huge European city of Soviet Russia, Leningrad, was encircled by a blockade. Hundreds of thousands of citizens, museums, libraries, theaters, universities, sciences, music, life... Bombardments, artillery fire... famine... cold.

Aug 10, 2017

An occupation: one party is strong, one is weak. What is to be done? To grow, one into the other, conserving one's culture, so finally a common state can be formed? The French-German Union, or even, German-French Union. Finally, the warring will come to an end.
The Hermitage Museum, the Russian Renaissance, is frozen into the history of the Blockade. In its cellars the wounded are treated, in its halls, coffins are built. Bombardments, artillery fire. Here too, the greatest treasures had been sent away. Soldiers are brought from the front...
REMBRAND to walk among the empty frames:
This is an El Greco.
This one is a Leonardo.

Aug 10, 2017

M. Jaujard, you seem permanently stressed.

Metternich was sincere in quoting Hitler: The interests of conservators coincided with the ideology of a totalitarian state.
Count Metternich obtained from command a ruling governing conservation and protection of artistic treasures in occupied lands. Here's the result,
a memo to all German soldiers:
German soldiers! Throughout France, you encounter many manors and other historic buildings, which have served and will serve as temporary housing. Many of those buildings are exceptional monuments of an' and history. Observe these rules:
Be careful while heating! Burned-down castles are a cause to blame German soldiers. Be careful during the installation of electric wires.
Handle works of art with care, do not burn broken furniture or damaged wallpaper. Bronze chandeliers are not to be used as coat hangers.
Demonstrate that you are the same Germans who defeated Bolshevism in the East.


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Aug 10, 2017

Sokurov is talking via Skype with a certain Captain Dirk who is commanding a container ship in stormy seas, bearing the entire contents of a museum. Which museum? Whose? Captain Dirk is profoundly disturbed by his eerie, uncanny cargo – an entire nation’s mind and heart – and it could be that Sokurov is saying that this is what museums are: container ships with vast amounts of vulnerable freight. Perhaps that is what our minds are: containerships stocked with museum-quality memories.

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