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||IMDB Rating: 7.0/10 from votes
||Release: 18 March 2015 (France) /
||Stars: Mark A. Landis
||Synopsis: When one of the most prolific art forgers in US history is finally exposed, he must confront the legacy of his 30-year con.
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Art and Craft is one of the most fascinating documentaries about art
that I have ever seen. It's well made, well put together, and delivers
a very satisfying experience overall. In fact, this film fascinated me
more than some live action movies have.
Art and Craft is a documentary that follows a few days in the life of
famous art forger, Mark. A Landis. Mr. Landis is a savant who has spent
30 years deceiving museums with his drawings by making them believe
that they actually have art by a famous artist, when, in fact it's just
him. Landis has the amazing ability to copy a painting almost exactly
like the original artist, although Landis is not a very good artist,
rarely paints original art of his own, and prefers instead to cheat and
copy. This film explores Landis as we see him go through his childhood,
learn how he became obsessed with art, how his fraud was eventually
exposed, and also see him prepare for an exhibit based upon his "fake"
This documentary was a very pleasant surprise. After weeks of films
that were okay, but lackluster, Art and Craft's high quality was a
breath of fresh air. This documentary doesn't portray Landis as a
criminal or villain, or glorify him as some sort of hero. Instead, it
just portrays him as a real human being who is a curiously strange
person. In total, Landis has given 47 forged paintings to 46 art
museums around America. In the film, we see interviews with Landis
himself where he explains why he became a forger, what his life is
like, and his understanding of his mental problems. We also see
interviews with people who have met Landis, or people who worked at
various art museums that Landis has tried to give forged paintings to,
and how they may or may not see him as a villain. This documentary
method is quite effective and allows us to see perspective from both
Some of the directing choices in this film were interesting as well.
Filmmakers Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman really show they know how
to use a camera. Sequences such as the one where we see Landis's photo
gallery and his forged art really help to emphasize him as a person.
While I quite liked how the regular scenes kept being intercut with
movie clips from films like Casablanca and Charlie Chan, as Landis is
shown to be a bit of a classic film fan, having grown up watching a lot
of television and movies.
Art and Craft is a wonderfully made documentary about one of the most
fascinating characters of real life art. I've watched plenty of great
documentaries in the past, but this one reminds me of why I find
filmmaking to be interesting in the first place. I definitely
recommended this film.
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Mark A. Landis
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