WINNERS OF STANLEY AWARDS ARE ANNOUNCED FOR 2013
Political Film Society members selected the following as best films of 2013:
Democracy: The Butler (directed by Lee Daniels)
Exposé: The Emperor (directed by Peter Webber)
Human Rights: 12 Years a Slave (directed by Steve McQueen) Peace: Zaytoun (directed by Eran Riklis)
Film directors will receive recognition in the form of framed certificates.
THE MONUMENTS MEN PRESENTS AN EPIC TRUE STORY
Despite Article 56 of the Hague Convention of 1899, which bans seizure of cultural property, Adolf Hitler planned to transfer art from Belgium, France, and the Netherlandsto a museum in Germany. He believed that he could deprive those countries of cultural pride and thus any identity other than as servants of the Reich. Aware of his intentions, President Franklin Roosevelt tasks the U.S. military to assemble experts on various types of artistic expression to save them from destruction and to return them to their original display venues. Frank Stokes (played by George Clooney) recruits the experts, has them minimally trained for combat, and directs their operations from the point of their arrival inDeauville, France, until the Allied line meets the Russian line in Germany during 1945. A subsequent slideshow displays highlights of their rescue. Two among the “monuments men” die. Their hitherto unknown mission is revealed in a book by Robert Edsel published last year (The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History) that is now brought to the screen (delayed from an originally projected December release for reasons unknown). Much of the film’s action comes from discovery of the art—as well as a cache of gold—in very unusual places, but the suspense quickens when art expert James Granger (played by Matt Damon) discovers an order of Hitler to destroy all the art in the event that Germany loses the war, which increasingly seems imminent. An important subplot concerns General Viktor Stahl (played by Justus von Dohyányi), who sends the last shipment of art from France to Germany to the chagrin of art curator Claire Simon (played by Kate Blanchette). When Granger finds her in a military jail, he asks her where the art has been sent, but she believes that his real mission is to send the art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, so she at first refuses to supply crucial information and, sometime after her release from jail, relents. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, the Political Film Society has nominated The Monuments Men for best film exposé and best film on human rights of 2014. MH