TJFF 2019: Hitler vs. Picasso

May 6, 2019 | By

The 2019 Toronto Jewish Film Festival runs May 2-12, and my first review is for Claudio Poli’s Hitler versus Picasso and the Others / Hitler contro Picasso e gli altri (2018), which had its Toronto Premiere May 3rd.

Poli creates an excellent overview of the Nazis’ institutionalized art thieving from Jewish families, balancing history, facts, and emotions in a complex narrative that largely spans the years around WWII.

In the present day, however, the despotic state’s actions and its complex system aren’t unfamiliar – the recent and ongoing theft and sale of ancient Syrian and Iraqi antiquities bears eerily similar ties to the destructive actions of Nazi thieves & murders, and unconscionable collectors – nor is the loss of culture; if an artifact disappears, it may take decades for it to re-emerge in public, and only then begins the push & struggle to reunite & repatriate art with its country and / or rightful owners.

Back in 2017, TJFF screened The Heir / L’heriter, Edith Jorisch’s short doc on her grandfather’s steps to find 3 missing paintings, and her story is indicative of the myriad personal threads tied to the loss of life and art, and of history and culture.

Coming shortly are further TJFF reviews, including Lemon Popsicle: Of Winners and Losers / Eskimo Limon – Eis am Stiel: Von Siegern und Verlierern (2018)… and maybe the original Lemon Popsicle (1978).

Also in the works is another ArtsTO podcast, featuring Toronto-based photographer Pengkuei (Ben) Huang, and his images of Japan’s Tohoku region, situated very close to the infamous Fukushima nuclear power plant. Huang’s work is currently exhibited at Toronto’s Urban Gallery, as part of the 2019 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.

Thanks for reading,



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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