Mirren spotlights Nazi theft

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Mirren spotlights Nazi theft

In Woman in Gold Mirren plays the late Maria Altmann.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 11 Feb 2015, 8:36 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 11:09 PM

Helen Mirren said on Monday her portrayal of a Jewish woman’s struggle to get back paintings confiscated when her ancestors fled Austria to escape Nazi rule throws a spotlight on the slow pace of restitution of looted Jewish property.

In Woman in Gold, being shown at the Berlin International Film Festival, Mirren plays the late Maria Altmann, who battled all the way to the US Supreme Court in her ultimately successful battle to get the Austrian government to turn over extremely valuable paintings by Gustav Klimt.

Among them was the Klimt 1907 portrait from his “gold period” of Altmann’s aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer that gives the film its title. It was reportedly sold in 2006 to cosmetics magnate Ronald S. Lauder for $135 million, at the time the highest price ever paid for a painting.

“So many people from that particular conflict did not receive any justice whatsoever... and so to have one little tiny moment of justice, it is a great thing,” Mirren said at a news conference.

She was joined by co-stars including Daniel Bruhl, Max Irons and Ryan Reynolds, who plays Randol Schoenberg, the young lawyer who helped her win her near decade-long case. 

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