SXSW 2016 Film Review: The Liberators

SXSW 2016 Film Review: The Liberators

The Liberators is a treasure of a Documentary Feature which exemplifies the standard of documentary filmmaking.

As you may know from star casted movies such as “The Monuments Men”(2014), during and following World War II, when Nazi Germany was defeated, prized art that represented many cultures was often times stolen or destroyed. In the documentary feature, The Liberators, we hear the story of the art treasure called “Quedlinburg Treasures”, that was found in a tiny Texas town. These treasures are of huge cultural and religious values, so finding them was of huge significance. As the film will tell you, it was not uncommon, although still illegal, for soldiers during WWII to send valuables they have come into possession back to their families. It almost became a culture of: to the victor comes the spoils.  This story itself is fascinating, but what I want to talk so even more so than that, is the quality of the filmmaking.

The Liberators uses highly qualified people as the storytellers of this film. Many times with documentaries, we are told the story through the eyes of the spectator. Someone who heard the story, or may have been around during it, but not directly involved. This type of documenting gives us public perception of the subject matter, but The Liberators gives us accounts from the people directly involved in the hunt for the Quedlinburg Treasures. We’re able to live through their words, understand their methods and thinking processes. It is truly compelling. With a run time of only a dash over an hour, this film waste no time getting to the story. I can appreciate a film who refuses to add fluff to the story simply to add some length to the film. We’re told the story, the facts, nothing more, nothing less.

Although I will admit that the subject matter of The Liberators can seem a bit mundane for someone who isn’t interested, or only moderately interested in the side stories of WWII, a film lover can enjoy this documentary for it’s quality filmmaking. Director Cassie Bryant truly does this story justice, and I would advise everyone to look out for this film, as it would come as no surprise to me if I were to see it get picked up by the History Channel, or a station of the like.


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