The Art Dealer

A breathtaking 18th century painting on a crumbling Parisian wall ignites a noirish mystery and inspires a woman to delve into family secrets, long-buried memories and WWII-era government cover-ups in The Art Dealer, directed by François Margolin (The Flight of the Red Balloon). When her art dealer husband brings home a ravishing painting, Esther (Anna Sigalevitch, The Piano Teacher) thinks nothing of it, until her father is suddenly overcome with emotion at the sight of it. When he refuses to elaborate, Esther, a journalist by trade, turns into an amateur sleuth to solve the mystery of this painting presumably stolen from her Jewish family by Nazis. She interviews family members and government officials in her dashing trenchcoat and fedora, whispers in dark rooms, forges signatures and draws long, thoughtful puffs on cigarettes (though this may be more French than noir). Esther risks her family, her profession and, perhaps, her sanity, as she pushes hard against the tacit acceptance of the silence of Jewish elders who survived the war and tirelessly trudges on until she discovers the hard truth. Sigalevitch gives an emotionally charged performance in this eerie and suspenseful film, which juxtaposes the present day enigma with flashback footage of Esther’s grandparents, ultimately offering a uniquely French perspective on a Jewish family’s tale of loss. —Alexis Whitham
w/English Subtitle
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