L'Hypothèse du tableau volé (The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting)

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Two narrators, one seen and one unseen, discuss possible connections between a series of paintings. The on-screen narrator walks through three-dimensional reproductions of each painting, featuring real people, sometimes moving, in an effort to explain the series' significance.


Critic Reviews for L'Hypothèse du tableau volé (The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting)

All Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for L'Hypothèse du tableau volé (The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting)


Presumably an influence on Peter Greenaway (witness "The Draughtsman's Contract" and "Nightwatching"), "The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting" is an experimental, black-and-white feature with a pleasantly brief length (66 minutes). But don't assume the film is simple. In fact, it demands to be seen twice. An unnamed collector (Jean Rougeul) leads a tour through his reality-defying mansion, wherein six of his owned paintings are mystically recreated in three-dimensional tableaux vivant (Southern Californians familiar with Laguna Beach's Pageant of the Masters festival should easily recognize this term). The same fictional artist created all six works, and the titular "hypothesis" is that these old paintings -- otherwise, rather bland and ordinary -- are thematically linked and embed clues about a high-society scandal involving taboo homosexuality and an occult religious ceremony. The collector proposes that a missing seventh painting is key to clearing up the ambiguity, while an unseen narrator has some different ideas. The actors appearing in the tableaux are less than flawlessly frozen -- they include an unrecognizable Jean Reno in his first movie role -- and director Raoul Ruiz probably encouraged this wobbly element. Imperfect models suit a film about the imperfections of critical analysis. Recurrent Ruiz collaborator Jorge Arriagada adds a striking, modern-classical score to accompany the slow, graceful camera movements. Listen carefully and see if the singer's steady references to "incessant snow" make any sense to you.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

"Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter Sermons and soda water the day after" Grapple your options,ladies,gents,the genuine film making of Ruiz objects any little thoughts,admiration you might have had once concerning bio-pics of well-known artists.There is no art without human challenge,thus there is no "real" adventure without a guidance! No fundamental plot,nonetheless,a canvas of surreal hypothesis.Unlike anything you've seen before... p.s.: Byron's verses I used in the beginning are the absolute possession of the "artist" inside the film.

Dimitris Springer
Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "The Hypothesis of a Stolen Painting," an art collector(Jean Rougeul) muses the mystery behind the controversy surrounding a series of 19th century paintings. As he does so, the paintings come alive and a story emerges. As intriguing a premise as that may sound for a movie, it never quite makes it past the experimental stage which is a shame considering how much could be explored in the multiple meanings that any work of art has. In short, this is a movie about watching a movie.[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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