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The Rape of Europa

Art-love tunnel vision
By MICHAEL ATKINSON  |  September 26, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
THE RAPE OF EUROPA: An art-centric Holocaust.

This documentary from Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, and Nicole Newnham (who will be present) is an alternative history of the Third Reich’s ravages that focuses not on the human destruction but the Nazis’ scorched-earth impact on European art and architecture. The filmmakers are, it seems, assuming that after so much documentation of murder and torture we could stand to consider instead the material and cultural losses: the paintings stolen and lost, the centuries-old landmarks devastated (and not by the Germans — the Allied bombing of the Monte Cassino monastery is a centerpiece), the sculptures frantically smuggled to outlying estates before art mavens Hitler and Goering could get their greedy mitts on them. Still, in one example after another, it seems more than odd to be concerned about a hidden Leonardo, or the looted homestead of Dostoevsky, rather than butchered civilians and genocide. Meticulously researched, and narrated in reverent tones by Joan Allen, The Rape of Europa is intended as an adjunct document to Holocaust culture, and one has to keep reminding oneself of that fact amid the feverish art-love tunnel vision.
  Topics: Reviews , Nicole Newnham , Joan Allen , Monte Cassino ,  More more >
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