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USA: International Film Circuit
Cast: Blythe Danner, Campbell Scott, Harold Smith
Director: Rebecca Dreyfus
USA: 85 mins
USA Release Date: 21 April 2006 (Limited Release - New York)
Is it still a masterpiece if no one can find it?
In 1990, in the early morning hours after St. Patrick's Day, thieves disguised as Boston police officers gained access to Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and successfully perpetrated the largest art heist in modern history. Among the thirteen priceless paintings stolen were works by Rembrandt, Degas and Manet. But none is more sorely missed than The Concert by Johannes Vermeer, one of only 35 surviving works by the beloved Dutch master. For those who loved these paintings, particularly the rare Vermeer, the theft felt almost personal.
To date, not a single painting stolen that day has been recovered.
STOLEN began as an exploration into this unusual crime, but quickly became the catalyst or a renewed attempt to find the missing masterpieces. At the heart of the film is a very unlikely hero: Harold Smith, the most renowned art detective in the world. Despite his lifetime battle with skin cancer, the cunning and witty Smith has made this case his personal obsession. Now, with Dreyfus's camera in tow, Smith embarks on a final journey to crack a mystery that has confounded law enforcement officials for fifteen years. The mood is set through the reading by actors Blythe Danner and Campbell Scott of correspondence between the 19th century Grand Dame Isabella Stewart Gardner and her envoy to Europe, art aficionado Bernard Berenson. Their passion for great art, as expressed in their letters, is elaborated by contemporary art experts, among them, Tracy Chevalier, author of 'Girl With a Pearl Earring'. These "subplots" help us appreciate just what the world has lost.
Harold Smith's quest to recover the Gardner paintings takes him through the Boston criminal underground. It takes him to Ireland to investigate the theory that the Irish Republican Army, known to have a penchant for stealing Vermeers, may be involved. It takes him on wild goose chases, and precipitously close to the truth.
STOLEN takes the audience along on this thrilling journey through the worlds of art and crime, not only to solve a perplexing mystery, but also to understand the mysterious power of art.