“Le Tableau volé”, a great film on the world of auctioneers…

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Louise Chevillotte plays the devious intern Aurore

The teasers were great for “Le Tableau Volé” and on the first day of screening, my favorite movie theatre, Les Cinq Caumartin, was fully booked. It was May Day and nothing was open in Paris except cinemas… So I rushed to see this story on a smart auctioneer played by the excellent Alex Lutz, who discovers a painting, The Sunflowers, by Egon Schiele, in a modest house near Mulhouse. The film directed by Pascal Bonitzer is full of surprises and develops into a series of devious characters and events. The language (French) is modern since all the protagonists are 25-40, and the plot, quite classical, is uplifted by fantastic acting. The final scene with Arcadi Radeff, who plays an innocent factory worker confronted with an enormous amount of money, is fabulous and made me cry… This is a feel good film which sounds perfectly right on the world of auctioneers.

Léa Drucker and Alex Lutz form a perfect couple after ten years of divorce

Alex Lutz, an ambitious Rastignac, who is a major auctioneer in a large International firm reminiscent of Christie’s or Sotheby’s, is crual to his intern, Aurore,  a mythomaniac, who resists him. Lea Drucker, whom he used to be married to, works for the same firm in Geneva and agrees to meet him in Mulhouse to see a painting by Egon Schiele which has suddenly reappeared. They discover with huge pleasure that this work, which belonged to the Wahlberg collection, is authentic and was given to a French collaborator for service rendered to the nazis in charge of spoliated artworks. Since 1939, when it disappeared, the painting spent seventy years in a house heated with coal. It is very dirty.

Martin played by Arcadi Radeff is the honest factory worker who  owns the painting (with Nora Hamzawi in the back)

The ambitious Simon finds the American heirs to the painting, the Wahlberg family, and fights his way to organize the auction. It is a huge success and all ends well with a few twists in the story. I particularly liked the cynicism of the auction house’s CEO, and the naivety of the provincial actors versus the Parisians. The intern Louise Chevillotte, who lies all the time, is superb and disturbing.

I love this world of Hotel Drouot resisting the assaults of International auction houses and recognized many of the characters in the story. I could have passed on the cliché lesbian affair between two of the pretty protagonists, but really liked every single actor. The costumes and decors are genuine and the atmosphere very Parisian.

Le tableau Volé plays in all movie theaters.

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6 Comments on ““Le Tableau volé”, a great film on the world of auctioneers…”

  1. Histoire romancée sur le devenir d’une oeuvre du collectionneur Karl Grünwald. Tout le film est centré sur le thème du mensonge.
    La stagiaire mytho, qui bénéficie largement de cet art-là, sort le commissaire priseur d’une impasse. Celui-ci aveuglé par sa découverte n’a pas vu
    qu’Aurore pouvait l’aider utilement, car experte non pas en art mais en mensonges.
    L’oeuvre de Schiele, elle, est vraie. Des personnages tournent autour sans la profondeur d’être du jeune ouvrier qui s’en dessaisit, en essayant avec grande difficulté de mentir à ses copains pour la protéger.

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