This epic and important film documents the obsessive efforts by one man to save a whole generation of Russian and Central Asian artists from being lost. Igor Savitsky (1915-1984) collected and rescued over 40,000 pieces of art, mainly avant-garde Russian, and places them in a museum in the desert city of Nukus the capital of Karakalpakstan in northern Uzbekistan. Savitsky also collected traditional Karakalpak items of folklore; items of antiquity that would otherwise have been lost forever.
Even though Savitsky (his memoirs voiced by Ben Kingsley) was often penniless, he was still able to procure funds from the very authorities that had banned the art. As is often the case, the best place to hide something is in open sight. The watchful eyes of the KGB were definitely not on Nukus.
Today the collection is still under threat from many sources. It is a lucrative target for Islamic fundamentalists, corrupt businessmen and art profiteers, and engenders the question “On whose shoulder lays the responsibility of preservation?”
This thrilling and educational film should induce all who see it and especially those who know the value of art to be eternally grateful.
Ce film palpitant et éducatif devrait provoquer tous ceux qui le voit, et surtout pour ceux qui connaissent la valeur de l'art d'être éternellement reconnaissants.
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