Showing posts with label the missing piece. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the missing piece. Show all posts

October 29, 2013

"The Missing Piece: Mona Lisa, Her Thief, The True Story" showing twice a day this week at the Arclight Pasadena

The documentary, The Missing Piece: Mona Lisa, Her Thief, The True Story, is playing now at the Arclight Theatre in the Paseo Colorado shopping center in Pasadena.

This award-winning documentary, directed and written and produced by the husband and wife team of Joe and Justine Medeiros, is a story of an audacious art theft - Vincenzo Peruggia, an immigrant house painter, walked into the Louvre on a Monday morning and then out with the Mona Lisa under his arm and onto the streets of Paris in late August (a notoriously quiet month in Paris when residents traditionally flee the humidity to the sea and the countryside). For two years Leonardo da Vinci's portrait allegedly of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo escalated in fame as the public wondered if the masterpiece would ever be recovered. The Medeiros team traveled to Peruggia's hometown in northern Italy to meet his daughter, then in her 80s, to find out from her about the man who had stolen La Joconde -- only to find out that her father had died before she turned two years old and she herself had not heard about the theft until she was about to marry. The Medeiros' promised Peruggia's daughter to find out why her father had become an art thief. They studied primary materials, including archival material related to the police investigation, and re-traced Peruggia's actions with his grandson and granddaughter.

The film will screen at noon and 2 p.m. Tuesday (October 29) through Sunday (November 3).

October 13, 2013

"The Missing Piece: Mona Lisa, Her Thief, The True Story" documents an art crime and a writer's obsession to understand motive

Joe and Justine Medeiros in Hollywood
 at the Arclight Documentary Festival
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

“The Missing Piece: Mona Lisa, Her Thief, The True Story”, winner of the award for Best Historical Documentary in the San Antonio Film Festival, provides clarity on how and why an immigrant housepainter, Vincenzo Peruggia, stole Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” from the Louvre in 1911.

Written and directed by Joe Medeiros and produced by his wife Justine, this documentary of a Parisian art theft tells the story of one writer’s obsession that lead him to a Northern Italian village to meet the art thief’s only living offspring, 84-year-old Celestina. Joe Medeiros hoped that Peruggia’s daughter could explain why her father, an immigrant painter living in Paris, had stolen the da Vinci masterpiece from the Salon CarrĂ© and hidden it for two years. Was Peruggia a patriot who believed he was returning a masterpiece Napoleon had stolen from Italy? Or was he an ordinary criminal looking to make a fortune? Unfortunately, Celestina did not remember her father who had died of a heart attack in Paris before she was two years old. Not until the age of 20 did Celestina learn from her aunt that her father had stolen the Mona Lisa. After promising to find out what motivated Celestina's father to steal da Vinci's masterpiece, Joe and Justine Medeiros visited the Louvre and archives in Paris with Peruggia’s grandson before traveling with Peruggia's granddaughter to the hotel where the painting was recovered in Florence in 1913.

“The Missing Piece” documents the efforts to research, translate and retrace a century old art crime. Art crime specialists such as Charles Hill, Scotland Yard Art Squad (retired), and Robert Wittman, FBI Art Crime Team (retired), appear with Louvre curators and other writers on the Mona Lisa theft (Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, The Crimes of Paris). Medeiros draws conclusions from primary sources to explain how Peruggia stole the painting and got it out of his museum and to his apartment (apparently he used both a bus and a horse carriage); where he stored the painting for two years; how the French police investigated the crime and how close the great detective  came to identifying both the thief and the painting’s hiding place; and finally, the “missing piece” which leads conclusively to the motive for the theft. The story includes Peruggia’s bouts with lead poisoning, the truth about the psychological evaluation used in his trial, and how Peruggia returned to France after his imprisonment during World War I. The film ends with Joe Medeiros revealing the truth to Celestina, turning the story from art crime to that of family.

"It's not a big, budget Hollywood movie, but it does tell a good story that has a beginning, middle and, fortunately, a happy ending," Joe Medeiros said.

The movie's website and blog contains more information.

Tanya Lervik (ARCA 2011) reviewed this movie last year at a screening in Washington, D.C.

May 12, 2013

The Missing Piece: Mona Lisa, Her thief, The True Story Headed to Denver Art Museum this Friday and to the Biografilm Festival in Bologna in June

The Missing Piece: Mona Lisa, Her Thief, The True Story, the documentary about the 1911 theft of Leonardo da Vinci's now famous portrait of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo from the Louvre, premiered in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Film Festival on Saturday, May 11.

"We were thrilled to have The Missing Piece screen at Grauman's Chinese Theater for the Beverly Hills Film Festival," Director Joe Medeiros wrote to the ARCA Blog. "We had a very enthusiastic sold-out crowd.  It was our 9th festival and one of the best so far."

Medeiros bills the film as "the true story of how and why Vincenzo Peruggia, a simple Italian immigrant, stole the Mona Lisa and nearly got away with it".

The film will screen at the Denver Art Museum at 7 p.m. this Friday (May 17):
Come to a riveting and humorous documentary film about Vincent Peruggia, the man who stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911, his 84-year-old daughter who thought he did it for patriotic reasons, and the filmmaker who spent more than 30 years trying to find the truth.  Written and produced by Joe Medeiros, former head writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, this documentary combines historical photographs, animation and interviews with Peruggia’s descendants to examine how an unassuming housepainter from Italy pulled off “the greatest little-known heist in modern time.”  The producers will be present for Q&A after the film.
The international premiere of the movie will be at the Biografilm Festival in Bologna on Saturday June 15 and Sunday June 16.

Joe Medeiros, writer/director, and
Justine Medeiros, producer. 
ARCA Alum ('11) Tanya Lervik saw the movie last July in Georgetown and reviewed the movie here.

Last October Joe Medeiros weighed in on the Isleworth Mona Lisa, positioning that the painting had not been newly discovered but around for almost a century (see the ARCA blog post here).

This documentary is available for private screenings. Here are the project's links:

Twitter@monalisastolen

Updated May 15 to include information from the director Joe Medeiros.

July 30, 2012

One to watch: “The Missing Piece” The Truth About the Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa

by Tanya K. Lervik (ARCA 2011)

On Sunday, July 29th, a private screening of “The Missing Piece” was held in a Georgetown theater for about 100 invitees in Washington, D.C. For some 30 years, filmmaker Joe Medeiros has been captivated by the challenge to clarify the true motivations behind Vincenzo Peruggia’s 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre museum in Paris. In this charming documentary, he shares his journey of discovery with the joyful wit and irreverence which served him well as head writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Medeiros’s years of research began to coalesce when he discovered that Peruggia’s daughter was still living. He travelled to Italy to interview Celestina Peruggia while simultaneously arranging access to numerous experts and an important trove of primary resources. Of particular interest are letters Peruggia wrote home to his family and the notes from his psychological evaluation after the theft.

The final conclusions reached may not prove surprising to those familiar with the case. However, Medeiros convincingly debunks alternative theories, for example, that a conman mastermind named Eduardo de Valfierno had commissioned the theft in order to make copies to sell to unscrupulous buyers, or that it was really Peruggia’s friend Lancellotti who had committed the theft and hidden the painting. Above all, the film humanizes Vincenzo Peruggia, a man who had become an obscure figure even within his own remaining family. It’s a fascinating look at one of the most infamous art crimes and an engaging account of Medeiros’s personal quest for answers.

The film has recently been entered into numerous film festivals worldwide, the rules of which prohibit the sale of DVDs or public release until after the festival season ends. However, this is definitely a project to watch. Updates are forthcoming on Facebook, Twitter and the project website (http://monalisamissing.com/welcome.html).