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Francofonia

"Much more than just a Louvre gift shop souvenir, Alexander Sokurov's latest art-related film is a dense, visually inventive essay about the legendary Paris museum." - NOW

“Aleksandr Sokurov’s Francofonia is rich, complex, challenging. More complex than Russian Ark, which displayed the glories of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum, this philosophical essay on the relationship between history, war, art and art preservation offers so many options for interpretation that by the time it is over, one realises that any attempt to deal with it in earnest requires a second viewing.

"Sokurov has a skeletal plot dotted throughout the film involving the encounter between Jacques Jaujard, the director of the Louvre throughout the Second World War, and Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich, the man appointed by the German occupation forces to deal with France’s art treasures. Though enemies, these two art lovers conspired between them to keep the Louvre collections intact.

"The two other characters roaming through the Louvre are both ghosts. One of them, Marianne, represents the French spirit in all its glory.  The other ghost is that of Napoleon, who cockily parades through the palace he officially turned into the National Museum. Time is flexible as Sokurov traces the history of the Louvre from its early days to the present, with the glass pyramid in the heart of the courtyard sending visitors through underground passages to the various corners of the huge complex.

"Expertly merging archive material and fictional sequences, neither a documentary but not quite a fiction film, Sokurov reflects on how much and how closely history and art are interwoven, from ancient times to the present.” - Screen Daily

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