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'Because I Was A Painter': The works depicted are extraordinary as documents as well as pieces of art

Christophe Cognet’s documentary centers on the secretly created drawings by prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. 

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A scene from Christophe Cognet's 'Because I was a Painter.'

Courtesy of Cinema Guild

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Christophe Cognet’s documentary “Because I Was A Painter” is about the secretly created drawings by prisoners that were discovered when the Allies liberated the concentration camps. What is astonishing, of course, is that these artworks were created at all. Even more astonishing is that, amid such horror, some felt compelled to record it.

The drawings, mostly portraits of great grief, are extraordinary both as documents and as works of art. The film also raises a larger question: Is it justifiable to create beauty, of a sort, from such surroundings? I don’t see how one can morally object to such indomitable expressions of the human spirit. Grade: B+ (Unrated.)

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