Faithful Friends Who Are Dear to Us

The Bruges Madonna. One masterpiece recovered by the Monuments Men.

The Madonna of Bruges. One masterpiece recovered by the Monuments Men.

Monuments, Men, Film and Home

Well there they are again those wonderful black keys with their snow-like white letters and characters stretched before my fingertips. So what will it be today? We are back because of what I can do by finding a bit of inspiration in the most surprising of places and times. After watching The Monuments Men I decided it was time to place my thoughts on the screen once more for all to muse upon. Whether you enjoyed the film or not, my background in the world of heritage is such that the film relates directly to what I have done – though I have never sought to recover looted works of art during a time of war. For me the film is about the magic of our creations, the will to make things right and to ponder the question is a work of art worth a man’s [or woman’s] life? For two souls portrayed in this Second World War era film it certainly was, and for those who stood with them, they certainly carried forward in their task to make things right, as best as it could be made.

The film is the story of our culture, featuring the Madonna of Bruges and the Altarpiece of Ghent (also known as The Lamb of God). Men from the United States, England and France in search of these masterpieces of their time, our time. Although some viewed the film with skepticism the film reminds me that it is good to reflect upon these true stories of our world and admire those that tried to do what was the right thing to do.

Personally I enjoyed the film. It reaffirms, for me, that when you see something that moves us, we are offered a chance to express what we feel. We become witnesses to the master’s craft that we can only hope will survive for generations to come. These are the experiences that I wish to enjoy, to seek and discover, to explore and to search for mankind’s true legacies and passion.

It seems I was meant to see The Monuments Men at this time of year. After all its Christmas and once again there is a scene of a care package from home delivered to actor Bill Murray. Within the parcel a recording from his family, with the treasured hiss and pop of old recordings that instantly reminds one of our well loved passions whether it is family, friends or music that reminds us of our heart’s true place. Do enjoy Nora Sagal’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, after all it is this tune that brought today’s inspiration. Merry Christmas everyone!

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests was a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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