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Movie Review: The Rape of Europa

Alternate Title: Portrait of the Nazis as Murderous Plunderers

Story: We are all familiar with the horrors of the Nazis as depicted in many a fine film. This fascinating documentary covers a less known area that should be of interest to every lover of art and culture. The film opens and closes with the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt and the long battle to return the painting to its rightful owner.

The Nazis methodical thieving and plundering of not only art from Jewish households, but art from major museums throughout Europe is thoroughly documented in this exhaustive film. Hitler's attempt to purge and purify Europe stretched from annihilation of human beings to the destruction of what he referred to as degenerate art, including most Impressionist, Cubist and Modernist works.

New file footage is seen as to how major museums such as the Louvre and the Hermitage hid their vast collections form the Nazis and would be a good film unto itself. We also are introduced to the Monuments Men, a group of dedicated US soldiers, who after the War, endured the arduous task of finding these stolen treasures and making attempts to return them to their rightful owners.

The film was written, produced, and directed by Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, and Nicole Newnham and based on Lynn H. Nicholas' book. Her book won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The film's web site gives you much more information and photos: http://therapeofeuropa.com/

Acting: Some very passionate talking heads who were directly involved in the search and recovery of these masterpieces. Lynn Nichols, the author of the book, appears as one of the talking heads and does the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer.

Predilection: I love art and art does matters.

Critters: A cat seen in the basement of the Hermitage

Food: No food to be seen except in a few still life paintings.

Sex Spectrum: There is no sex - but there is nudity in art.

Visual Art: A breathtaking number of works of art that luckily still exist today.

Theater Audience: A handful of art lovers like myself.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The Nazis make me squirm

Drift Factor: I drifted towards the end. The film needed some editing and a little more focus on the main idea.

Predictability Level: Having seen the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt at its new home in the Neue Gallery, that mystery was already solved for me.

Tissue Usage: I welled up at times.

Oscar Worthy: Why not? It is an important subject.

Soap Box: When the US troops did not protect the museums in Baghdad from looters, after our initial attack five years ago, I was horrified and ashamed of our behavior and barbarism. A civilization's culture is what survives and will be remembered for generations to come.

Nit Picking: Needed editing.

Big Screen or Rental: Support films like this and go to the big screen.

Length: Two hours.