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The Monuments Men in the Official Programme of the 64th Berlinale
"Over five million cultural assets stolen by the Nazis were returned to their countries of origin in the years following World War II. As the recent discovery in Munich demonstrates, the art theft of that time is as current as ever. The Monuments Men finally gives this little-known subject a worldwide audience," says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.
Still missing are thousands and thousands of cultural assets and documents worth billions of dollars. The Monuments Men touches on a subject matter that re-surfaced with the discovery of 1,400 works of art in a Munich apartment. The collection of found objects allegedly includes masterpieces by Marc Chagall, Max Liebermann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde and Albrecht Dürer.
A German-American co-production, The Monuments Men is based on a true story and focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by the Allies with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys - seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 gun - possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind's greatest achievements.
Two-time Academy Award winner George Clooney has been a frequent guest of the Berlinale as a producer, actor and director. The Monuments Men will be his second directorial appearance in the official programme after Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Berlinale 2003).
Director, screenwriter, producer and actor George Clooney assembled a high-calibre ensemble for The Monuments Men: Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett. The screenplay is written by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, who as screenwriters have twice been nominated for an Academy Award. The film is based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter, and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, who won last year's Oscar for Best Picture (Argo).
The Monuments Men is a co-production by Obelisk Productions Limited and Studio Babelsberg. Shooting took place at Studio Babelsberg, in the Goslar region and in Berlin, among other locations.
20th Century Fox, who has international rights, will release The Monuments Men in Germany on February 20, 2014. Sony has the US rights and will release the film on February 7.
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