Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
I watched a documentary on Netflix Screaming that I think is excellent. It's The Rape of Europa (2006, Unrated, Available on DVD and Screaming and Amazon).
I knew that the nazis stole works of art during WWII, but I had no idea how extensive the pilfering was. Occasionally, a stolen piece still turns up for sale at an auction house. Some people continue to fight for the return of the art that was stolen from their family.
Hitler's plan was to have a huge museum in his hometown in Austria. He was going to fill it with this art that was taken from museums, cathedrals, and individuals––who, of course, were Jewish.
Hitler didn't like modern art so a Picasso might be destroyed.
Art "collecting" became all the rage among the nazi hierarchy because everybody wanted to be like Big Daddy Hitler.
This outstanding documentary, which earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval, describes how the nazis stole the art, where they stored it, who "shopped till he dropped" to pick up pieces of art, and then it goes into the story of The Monuments Men. I'll tell you more about them in a minute if you'll just hang on and quit complaining so much.
I would watch The Rape of Europa with any child who's old enough to understand that there was such a time as World War II and that nazis are just one big arschloch.
Right after I watched the documentary, I learned that a movie called The Monuments Men (2014, Rated PG-13, Directed and Starred in by George Clooney) was about to be released on DVD, so I put it in my Netflix queue. The Monuments Men isn't a brilliant movie, but along with the documentary, it's a great way to teach kids something about the war and the importance of culture and history.
The Monuments Men were a real group of art curators, architects, art historians––you know, people like me––who went to Europe to rescue stolen art and to try to protect historic buildings and works of art during battles. One of The Monuments Men who was still alive, at least as of 2005 or so, is interviewed in The Rape of Europa.
It wasn't a big group, but they recovered a lot of stolen art. They weren't the kind of guys who were meant to be soldiers, but they got right in there and worked hard to save the cultural history of the world.
This movie could be better than it is. It's predictable. Clooney tried to insert some humor and some pathos. He didn't really succeed, but I still think you should watch The Monuments Men with your kids. I just watched it two nights ago. If I recall correctly, it has some profanity that didn't make a big impression on me. Anyway, if you don't have children, I don't care if you don't watch The Monuments Men as long as you watch The Rape of Europa.
Clooney is joined by some other big stars, including Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett. Oh! and Lord Grantham is in it for a while. I know his name is really Hugh Bonneville, but for the rest of my life I'll think of him as The Earl of Grantham. If I ever see him in person, I'll probably drop a curtsy and offer him a cup of tea.
Clooney looks kind of silly because he's made to appear older than he is. I suspect it was done so he'd seem more distinguished and more of an intellectual. Dumb idea. Gorgeous George shouldn't look like anyone other than himself.
The Monuments Men earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval (with misgivings).
Infinities of love,
HI Janie .. thanks for posting .. there was a lot of pillaging and at last it's good it's being brought more into the open ... I'd heard of the Rape of Europa, but not seen it ... but I did see the Monuments Men - it was a rush around Europe with lots of army trucks and pushing around to make sure they found where the art was ... it was interesting as you say - but I was uninspired by the film, but fascinated by the story.ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting .. they are obviously both worth watching .. and learning from - cheers Hilary
I think you'd love The Rape of Europa, Hilary.Delete
Happy Thursday, Janie Junebug! Mrs. Shady is a WWII buff and remembers watching The Rape of Europa quite some time ago. She agrees that it is excellent. It seems to cover a seldom discussed aspect of Hitler's reign. I will add the documentary to my viewing list. I don't care much for George Clooney and for some reason Mrs. Shady refuses to watch anything he's in, but we're Downton devotees and love Lord Grantham. His appearance in The Monuments Men might tip the scales and convince us to watch it.ReplyDelete
<< If I ever see him in person, I'll probably drop a curtsy and offer him a cup of tea. >>
I would like to think you'd react the same way in the presence of Sir Shady. Cheers!
Such a move might be misinterpreted by Mrs. Shady. I'd love to know why Mrs. S. doesn't like Gorgeous George. I'm afraid Lord Grantham's part is smaller than that of the other monuments men.Delete
Haven't seen the Rape of Europa, so that is one I'm going to look for. Did see and enjoy Monuments Men, but I agree with you about George.ReplyDelete
If we're in agreement, then God's in His Heaven and all's right with the world.Delete
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/german-art-dealer-cornelius-gurlitt-dies-at-81/. Do you know about this story of stolen art in Europe? Linda@Wetcreek BlogReplyDelete
No. I'll be sure to watch it. Thank you, Linda.Delete
Sadly there is no such thing as objectivity. The victors write history. I think about these documentaries becoming "history" several generations on. But, will it even matter to them?ReplyDelete
What's missing that you'd like to see included, Joanne?Delete
That's some heavy-duty viewing! Great picks, though. I tend to drift toward more lighthearted entertainment these days, for some reason.ReplyDelete
Lighthearted is good, too. I do some lighthearted.Delete
I think a somewhat recent issue of National Geographic had a photo essay about the real Monuments Men AND the art they "saved." Also, my friend Sheldon Greene has written a couple of historical fiction books about the arts and postwar Europe: Prodigal Sons and Burnt Umber. Great books. Check 'em out.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Karl. It seems the monuments men are all the rage these days.Delete
I think the National Geographics Channel (why not, there's a Playboy Channel) did a program on the Men a month or so ago.Delete
We saw Monuments Men in the theater. The scene where they play the kids singing Christmas carols over the loud speaker.... unbelievable in the theater. Even Tony cried. Really... I saw it.ReplyDelete
That was sweet. I'd forgotten about that sequence. On our second date, Willy Dunne Wooters told me about his favorite movie and I couldn't believe how much he cried. It was adorable.Delete
I read The Rape of Europa and am familiar with Nazi art plundering, but Mrs. C. wants to see The Monument Men anyway. She'd pay to watch George Clooney wash a dog.ReplyDelete
George doesn't have to wash a dog for me. I just want to look at him. I didn't know The Rape of Europa was a book. I'll probably want to read that.Delete
But I've never heard of these...whine...ReplyDelete
Slap me. Thanks for the reviews. I finally got Judi Dench in my mailbox.
She sure took her time showing up.Delete
So true that Mr. Clooney shouldn't try to be anyone else but himself. George, be more like us! (Do you reckon he never reads our blog, Janie? Would that even be possible?) Each time I watch a movie in which actors are made to look older, I'm unpleasantly reminded of Back to the Future I and II. But at least that wonderful trilogy was about time-traveling so there was valid reason why Robert Zemeckis turned the youthful Michael J. Fox into a middle-aged guy. Unless an actor needs to be both young and old, directors would be wise to cast people that are more or less the same age as their on screen counterparts. So The Rape of Europe earns the The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval… Is that a fact? Well, I feel pretty stupid not knowing this documentary, but of course I won't tell anyone and I know you won't either. It's not like I told everone about your poop cake. It is my belief children should be made aware of the atrocities of war and everything related to those black pages in our history , so showing them this documentary would seem like a very good idea. Some would say that's the teacher in me. I think it's because I'm human. Speaking of which (being a human teacher) and to answer your question, I teach English for international students at the University of Leiden. Yep, in good ole once raped Europe. When my father, a born and raised cowboy from Dallas, met my mind blowing Mom on a trip to said Europe, he fell in love like a puppy in Spring and somewhere along the way she cunningly talked him into living with her in Holland AKA The Netherlands. That didn't work, but that's a different story involving wars on a smaller scale…. Anyhooters, you've given me a reason to go shopping again - no, I'm not gonna steal people's art… I just need to buy me that Janie approved documentary, is all.ReplyDelete
Ah, here's the answer I needed. Now I know where you are. Thank you. I thought you might be British and I was going to brag about The Hurricane going to Cambridge (she was in Churchill). I wish George would come round to do yard work. I pay $25. I suppose he thinks he's too important to mow my grass.Delete
I think he's hiding up some tree checking you out while you're doing all the hard work n' stuff.Delete
I'll check out the documentary. That sounds like it's right up Philly Done Hooters' alley too. He loves watching stuff like that. Romantic date night...coming up.ReplyDelete
We had a nice date night last night. We watched Waitress and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Willy Dunne Wooters had never seen either one. He enjoyed them very much, and he even laughed out loud at times.Delete