“A meditation on suffering and beauty and how art can bridge the gap between the two.” – The Hollywood Reporter


14 April 2015, 19.30h, Rialto Amsterdam


Christophe Cognet
France & Germany | 2013 | 104 min
Dutch premiere

BECAUSE I WAS A PAINTER is an unprecedented investigation into the artworks secretly produced in Nazi concentration camps.
Unlikely as it may seem, in 1945, when the Allies liberated the concentration camps, they discovered thousands of hidden artworks. These works, created by imprisoned artists both to escape their misery and to record their experiences for generations to come, offer an unparalleled recounting of life in the camps.

Chrisophe Cognet’s compelling documentary shows the paintings, drawings and sculptures held in collections in France, Germany, Israel, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium and Switzerland. By revealing these clandestine images, BECAUSE I WAS A PAINTER explores the very notions of art and the artists’ impulse to create, while at the same time questioning our perception of beauty and aesthetics.
Shot over a period of nearly ten years and featuring interviews with surviving artists, international curators and art critics, this fascinating documentary examines the ability of art to capture, reflect and persist, even in the darkest of circumstances.

Nominated CinemaXXI Award – Rome Film Festival 2013

“BECAUSE I WAS A PAINTER considers the ability of art to capture, reflect and survive under unimaginable conditions.” – Indiewire

“Ce film remarquable pose une question perturbante : de beauté, peut-il être encore question quand les abîmes vous engloutissent?” – Le Monde

Cracking the Frame

A monthly program featuring an international selection of critically acclaimed arts documentaries and artists’ films.
Cracking the Frame focuses on the creative intersection between art and film through thought-provoking cinematic portraits of the life and work of established contemporary artists, photographers, filmmakers and global thinkers.
Each film is theatrically unreleased in The Netherlands and will be screened in English or with English subtitles.

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