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"What is France without the Louvre? Who would we be without museums?" – director Alexander Sokurov

In 1940, Nazi forces invaded Paris, intent on looting the city of its artistic treasures. Their destination, the Louvre, is the setting of Francofonia, an ambitious, freewheeling journey through European history from Alexander Sokurov (Faust, MIFF 2012).

A companion piece of sorts to the director's Russian Ark, Francofonia takes its own distinctive and visually mesmerising approach to its subject. Where the earlier film confined centuries of Russian history within the corridors of Saint Petersburg's Hermitage Museum, Francofonia detours through newsreel footage, historical reconstructions and a webcam conversation with a fictional sea captain. In his reimagining of the negotiations between the Louvre's director and a German administrator over the fate of the museum's collection, Sokurov poses questions about the value we place on art, and the human cost involved in preserving it.

"I don't expect to watch a better new film this year. It's an intellectual and aesthetic work of art about how we take care of other works of art and how we sometimes fail." – desistfilm