Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sunday films

DAY TEN: Sunday morning (my birthday!) dawned pretty icy and snowy. We didn't try to go anywhere until mid-day. Then we decided it wasn't going to snow enough to prevent getting around in the Subaru, so we headed down for another "secret screening." Again, I can't reveal the name, but I can say that the film was about an eccentric in the world of art and art museums - a man who is an accomplished artist, who suffers from bi-polar disease, and who forges works of art, usually of lesser-known artists, and then donates them to museums as though they were a legacy from his parents. He has been doing this for decades and scores of museums have accepted his donations in good faith. He is not guilty of a crime, because he does not accept any money. Here is a segment from Wikipedia about him:

In 2007, Landis offered several works to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art,  among them a watercolor by Louis Vaitat, a harbor scene by Paul Signac, a self-portrait by Marin Laurencin, an oil painting by Stanislas Lepine and a drawing by Daumier. The registrar, Matthew Leininger, had the pieces investigated by his team. They discovered a very similar Signac had been offered to the SCAD Museum of Art.  A press release even signaled
the donation of the same Signac, Avery and Laurencin. It also provided Mark Landis' real name. Leininger investigated further, and discovered Landis tricked more than 45 museums in 19 different cities. He warned museums, providing available photos of Landis. In September 2010, Landis went to a museum in Lafayette, Louisiana under the identity of a Jesuit priest, Father Arthur Scott. He donated a painting by Charles Courteney Curan, under the pretext of the loss of his mother. The director Mark Tullos asked registrar Joyce Penn to check out the painting. Penn checked the painting under blacklight, and the colors glowed suspiciously. A microscope observation then showed a dot-matrix pattern, hinting that a mere photocopy of the original had been projected on the board and then painted over. Joyce Penn dug deeper and linked up with Leininger's investigation. 

That gives you a gist anyway. The film is about Mark Landis and Matthew Leininger, and it is utterly fascinating. 

Mark Landis as Father Scott

After this film we had a bit of time before the next, and we got lattes at a nearby coffee shop. They made the beautiful patterns we are accustomed to in Salem, OR but have rarely found elsewhere.

Beautiful lattes
Our final film before going back to the Shays for my birthday supper was Life After Death, a film made in Rwanda. It was a funny and heart-wrenching film about an American couple who have adopted a young Rwandan man traumatized by the genocide in Rwanda. Here is a synopsis:

Kwasa is a clever, charismatic twenty-something Rwandan native who also happens to be a terribly unreliable employee. As he struggles to find stable work in Kigali, some well-intentioned Americans swoop in to offer a helping hand. Close by his side are Suzette and Dave, committed Christian philanthropists who frequently travel to Rwanda to offer life guidance and short-term job opportunities. Meanwhile, in suburban Dallas, donors Tim and Susan—moved by the story of Kwasa’s mother, who was impaled by a spear during the 1994 genocide —offer financial aid as they communicate with Kwasa via Facebook. Although tragedy looms large, director Joe Callander (“Tina Delivers a Goat”) sidesteps the pitiful tone that defines films about Rwanda, instead delivering affectionate yet sharp-eyed satire.

This film touched us because it resonated with situations close to home - the anguished love experienced by parents who have adopted a child from a very troubled background.

This concludes my survey of the True/False Film Fest. It was great - and we didn't even see the films that many regarded as the best of the fest. It is well worth the trouble going to if you love films.

Tonight (Wed, Mar. 5) we're in Pittsburg, KS. We ate supper in a Road Food Restaurant - Chicken Mary's. It was here when Shirley worked here as a Danny Grad in 1954-55, and she mentions going to it in one of her letters. But that's another story.

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