Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Drama in Cinema: Woman in Gold

Welcome back for Day 3 of Drama in Cinema. This time around our story is based at the late Maria Altmann, a mature Jewish refugee living in L.A. With her lawyer is is dealing with the Austrian government for over ten years to lay claim to the painting of her aunt which was stolen by the Nazis in World War II. This is Woman in Gold.

A lot weighing on that woman.

Our movie opens with a flashback of a woman getting her portrait done Adele Bloch-Bauer (Antje Traue of Pandorum, 5 Days of War, Man of Steel, Seventh Son and Woman in Gold), cut to 1998 in Los Angeles where a funeral is undertaking as Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren of Caligula, Excalibur, 2010, The Comfort of Strangers, The Madness of King George, Prime Suspect, Prime Suspect 2, Prime Suspect 3, The Snow Queen and REDS) is giving eulogy for his departed sister Louisa. After the funeral Maria connects with her old friend Barbara Schoenberg (Frances Fisher of Pink Cadillac, L.A. Story, Frame Up, Unforgiven, Strange Luck, The Big Tease, The Kingdom, Eureka, Torchwood and Resurrection) on legal matters concerning her sister's belongings and papers. She wonders if Barbara can ask her son Randy (Ryan Reynolds of The Outer Limits, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, Blade: Trinity, Green Lantern, Safe House, and R.I.P.D.) a struggling lawyer if he can take more than a cursory glance at them and make some sense of it all. The letters consist of mention of Gustav Kilmt's Woman in Gold.

After a little legwork Randy finds the painting to be in worth of one hundred million dollars and hangs in the Vienna deemed the Mona Lisa of Vienna but it is said by Maria that it was stolen by the Nazis during the war. With the Austrian government opening borders on art restitution Randy and Maria feel they may have a case. On the flight, Maria has memories of her mother scrubbing the cobblestones on her hands and knees with Germans pointing and laughing, you see a young boy salute in Reich fashion and it just slices through your heart.

Oh for a high bell tower and some belt fed cannons.

Met with a young journalist Hubertus Czernin (Daniel Bruhl of 2 Days in Paris, Good Bye Lenin!, The Bourne Ultimatum, Inglourious Basterds, The Coming Days and Rush) he asks to be Randy and Maria's friend in this troublesome time and I am guessing to see some justice done to those pretisgous households that were wronged. Maria remembers her wedding day, surrounded by friends and family as her husband a train opera singer blesses their marriage with a beautiful song. They dance the Tora in celebration bringing joy in the home.

Maria and Randy are getting doors slammed in their face as the government wishes to whitewash their history of the shame of kneeling to the Nazi Reich and refuses to admit the sins of the past merely condemns the future in my realm of thinking. Returning to America empty-handed, Randy looks for any loophole now becoming obsessed with the Woman in Gold and determined to get Maria her legacy back challenges Austria through the means where he can. Taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court. There a nation will stand trial for ignoring a righteous claim and be held accountable.

Will Maria ever see The Woman in Gold again? Can Randy with his limited experience bring his "A" game?

A few comments on the film now.

The actual Maria Altmann passed away in 2011 at the age of 94. Helen Mirren and Katie Holmes reunite after 16 years since Teaching Mrs. Tingle. Maria's heritage of her aunt Adele's diamond necklace went to SS Gestapo Hermann Goering's wife. Andrew Garfield was originally cast as Randol Schoenberg but he dropped out and Ryan Reynolds took the role. Lucky for him.

Hey, isn't that Deadpool?