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'Rape of Europa' paints picture of true story behind Monuments Men

Critic's Pick: The feature film 'The Monuments Men' has brought about the re-release of the documentary "The Rape of Europa,' which details the Nazi wartime theft of European art.

March 12, 2014|By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
  • Adolf HItler was drawn to art. “The Rape of Europa” details Nazi looting of Europe’s works.
Adolf HItler was drawn to art. “The Rape of Europa” details… (Lynn Nicholas Collection…)

If George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" did nothing else, it made possible the theatrical re-release of "The Rape of Europa," a splendid documentary that shows the true story behind the Nazi theft of European art and interviews some of the real-life Monuments Men who got it back. The film is packed with information and also tells a series of wonderful truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tales. "The Rape of Europa" even details the postwar fights about who owns which paintings that culminated in the sale of Gustav Klimt's gold portrait for a record $135 million. This documentary paints a picture that is vivid and timely. Playing on Saturday and Sunday at Laemmle's Monica 4 in Santa Monica, Town Center 5 in Encino, Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Claremont 5 in Claremont.

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