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A revenge thriller in which, following his estranged father's death, a man vows vengeance against his relatives who had abandoned him and returns to the family diamond business with an elaborate robbery in mind.
This film by François 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.
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