The Art Dealer (2015)

Anna Sigalevitch, Michel Bouquet, Robert Hirsch, François Berléand,
L'antiquaire is a movie starring Anna Sigalevitch, Michel Bouquet, and Robert Hirsch. A young woman is searching, today, in Paris, for the collection of paintings stolen from her Jewish family during WWII.
  • 6.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Jean-Claude Grumberg, Vincent Mariette, Sophie Seligmann, Writer:
  • François Margolin, Director:
  • Producer:
4 / 10

Poorly made cultural thriller

When the art dealer husband of Esther, a magazine journalist in Paris, brings home an 18th- century painting for an upcoming auction, she is startled to discover her father emotionally stunned at the sight of it. In seeking to find the cause of his discomfort, she follows a trail that leads through her parents and their friends during the war, Nazi art confiscations, conspiracies between her Jewish elders, and government cover-ups. Her job is threatened, and surveillance photos of herself are emailed to her phone.

It's a bit painful to watch a fairly strong cast labor to try to make such a poorly written film work. One might be tempted to suppose the English subtitles have left too much out, but large plot holes, overlong shots that add nothing to the story, and unresolved threads suggest otherwise. This is basically an interesting plot situation, with some decent acting and stylish design and camera work, but in the end it's not a very intelligent movie.

Poor Anna Sigalevitch, who mostly does a creditable job in the lead, is forced to perform a shower scene and an erotic reconciliation with her husband that are utterly gratuitous. Best scene is her confrontation with her powerful, menacing uncle, played by veteran French actor Michel Bouquet, who sells a fairly pedestrian piece of plotting and dialogue with tremendous conviction and ambiguity.

7 / 10

interesting

"The Art Dealer" from 2015 is a somewhat confusing film about the search for paintings stolen from Jews by the Nazis.

This is not a particularly well-made film, and I had a problem with one character who appears in old movies and shows up in the present. Apparently it's the same person (it was definitely the same actor).

The star is Anna Sigalevitch, who is a good actress and deserved better. She has to carry the whole film.

This is certainly an interesting subject, but it's been covered better in "Monuments Men," "Woman in Gold," and even an excellent episode of "Law and Order" starring Karen Allen called "Survivor."

2 / 10

Not well executed

This is a very poorly made film with a badly written script. It has all the hallmarks of a French film e.g histrionic acting, innumerable closeups of facial anatomy, some gratuitous sex and nudity, and a lot of smoking. There are subplots that go nowhere and a tangled web of bad writing that tells the story poorly, leaving huge plot holes for the viewer. There are some ridiculous scenes of the lead actress who does her detective work dressed in a 1950s Private Eye costume of trench coat and a fedora! Overall, it's just too poorly executed to even warrant and average rating of 5.

7 / 10

Not a masterpiece, but it's good, I recommend it

This film by Fran?ois Margolin and starring an enigmatic, talented Anna Sigalevitch is an interesting movie to review because I liked it to a certain degree, but was baffled and irritated by it as well.

The story is about a Jewish magazine journalist in current day Paris who investigates her own family's history in order to learn the truth about her suspected theft of hundreds of pieces of her family's artwork via collaboration of her great uncle, who worked undercover for the Gestapo during World War II. It's a cat and mouse game, with Anna as Esther, a chainsmoking, determined, flawed woman, in a detective-like tan trenchcoat and scarf, who riffles through her own father's belongings - against his knowkedge - in search of evidence.

I liked the subject matter, the artwork, and found some of the cinematography alluring. I also learned some basics about the topic of artwork stolen from Jews during the Nazi regime, however the film felt muddled and confusing at times. It took a while to figure out who was who. I felt that showing old filmreels in color instead of black and white was an odd choice, and Esther's incessant smoking was distracting.

Although I hoped she would unravel and expose the secrets, lies, theft, and betrayals, there weren't likeable characters to care about. Also, there were two scenes that were both gratuitous and poorly executed that added to my overall frustration with the film.

So although L'Antiquaire is not a Masterpiece and has some flaws, I would recommend the film for the subject matter. I did enjoy it.

3 / 10

Interesting theme, poor realization

Subject: the looting by Nazi occupiers of art owned by Jewish families during the war. and the subsequent misappropriation of some of this art after the war.

The movie falls apart spectacularly after a few minutes. Anna Sigalevitch can act and has screen presence, but, she is in almost every scene and becomes tiresome after a while. We are even regaled (for no plausible reason) with prolonged samples of her singing and disco dancing. Her acting is frantic and overblown; true, her lines do her no favor.

Plot holes make their appearance early, increase in size and finally swallow the movie whole; at the same time the script is pretty predictable. The protagonist is faced by a vast conspiracy directed by her ancient great-uncle, played by Michel Bouquet. He has done good work in many other movies, but here engages another ancient played by Robert Hirsch in a contest of over-the-top acting.

The final insult: a character which we see as a young man in grainy old movies (in color?) reappears more that half a century later played by the same actor in the same garb and is greeted by the heroin shouting "Nazis age well, Klaus!" There must some hidden meaning here but if so it totally escaped me.

Well, something has to be right. Francois Berléand plays a late-middle-age crotchety character with authority and the reliable Louis-Do de Lencquesaing demonstrates that acting doesn't have to be frenetic. Otherwise, the movie is a complete miss.