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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Beltracchi - The Art of the Forgery" or 'Beltracchi - Die Kunst der Fälschung')

Directed by Arne Birkenstock
Germany 2014


For nearly 40 years, Wolfgang Beltracchi fooled the international art world and was responsible for the biggest art forgery scandal of the postwar era. An expert in art history, theory and painting techniques, he tracked down the gaps in the oeuvres of great artists - Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Heinrich Campendonk, André Derain and Max Pechstein, above all - and filled them with his own works. He and his wife Helene would then introduce them to the art world as originals. What makes these forgeries truly one-of-a-kind is that they are never mere copies of once-existing paintings, but products of Beltracchi's imagination, works "in the style of" famous early 20th-century artists. With his forgeries, he fooled renowned experts, curators and art dealers. The auctioneers Sotheby's and Christie's were hoodwinked, just like Hollywood star Steve Martin and other collectors throughout the world. In BELTRACCHI: THE ART OF FORGERY, Wolfgang and his wife Helene Beltracchi chat openly - and with great wit and charm - about their quixotic adventures in an overheated art world ruled by blind greed, and in which apparently no one has an answer to the question as to what is an original, and what is a forgery... Beltracchi is an engaging rogue, a warm-hearted husband and father, and an impossibly self-confident artist. Full of witty dialogues, the film shows Beltracchi's incredible talent as a painter and reveals his expertise in forging paintings from the early 20th century, which were so masterfully done that art experts, museums and auction houses around the world were duped and exposed. The film is directed by the award-winning director Arne Birkenstock (CHANDANI AND HER ELEPHANT, SOUND OF HEIMAT: GERMANY SINGS).


Theatrical Release: March 6th,  2014

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DVD Review: Kimstim - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Kimstim - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:41:54 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
Audio German (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Kimstim

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Interview with Wolfgang and Helene Beltracchi (5:54)
Interview with Filmmaker Arne Birkenstock (11:17)
Art Authenticators Visit Beltracchi’s Studio (5:45)

DVD Release Date: November 17th, 2014

Keep Case
Chapters: 9



I've always been interested in art forgeries - in fact, the entire mystique of the high-end art market. One of my favorite fictional movies on the subject is Incognito with Jason Patric and I even found value in Travolta's recent The Forger. Probably one of the best documentaries I have seen about art - relating to impressionism, value etc - is The Art of the Steal about The Barnes Collection, of course there is Welles' F for Fake. I am also looking foreyard to Art and Craft (that I recently ordered) about forger Mark Landis.

This Kimstim disc of Beltracchi - The Art of Forgery is dual-layered and provides an excellent, anamorphic, SD image with a high bitrate. The canvas colors may have been a bit more vibrant in HD but the visuals are all consistent and clean - occasionally looking impressive. The titles and language is German but there are optional English subtitles. The NTSC disc is region FREE.

The film's Dolby audio has audible dialogue and has a score by Dürbeck & Dohmen supporting the film well.

It's a very interesting documentary - although Wolfgang Beltracchi is a fascinating individual - it seems there was maybe a tad too much effort to express this (he's a bit arrogant although also fun and positive). I would have liked more on the specific art and his techniques. As with the fictional films, the forgery process - to fool more scientific methods - is the most intriguing - using dirt, dust, older dealer stamps of the era etc. These forgers get so adept at replicating 'Master's' style that no one can tell which is authentic and which is not. The point being it shouldn't really matter if you like it - the ridiculously pricey higher-end art market has essentially become valuing and collecting signatures. Those keen on this topic will enjoy Beltracchi - The Art of Forgery - it's well made and covers a fascinating topic exposing more layers and details of the topic.  

Gary Tooze



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Distribution Kimstim - Region 0 - NTSC

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