Francofonia

Director: Alexander Sokurov (2016) BBFC cert: 12A

Russian director Sokurov follows up his masterful film Russian Ark (2002) with this intriguing documentary about the Louvre during the Nazi occupation.

For most of the war the galleries were empty with priceless art squirrelled away from the pilfering fingers of the German high command. So instead of a traditional narrative of dates, famous works and the artists responsible, we are presented with a meandering, opaque and strangely captivating confusion of scenes.

Dramatised meetings of real people are mixed with historical fact, war footage, family photographs and images of a modern day container ship, sinking. Conversations between the Emperor Napoleon and the French national symbol Marianne are used to explore the relationship between art, war, the state and its citizens.

Like many a museum visit it may take a sudden downpour to convince you to drop in, but once inside it is full of unexpected treasures.

@ChrisHunneysett

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