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San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Monday, May 5, 2014
8:40 p.m. Art and Craft
Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman, Mark Becker (U.S., 2013)

A philanthropist, a grieving brother, and a Jesuit priest are among the personas and aliases Mark Landis has created over a span of thirty years. One of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history, Landis used his disguises to dupe more than forty museums across twenty states with an impressive array of ingeniously crafted fake masterpieces ranging from sixteenth-century religious paintings to Picassos. His trail of deception might have been discovered sooner had it not been for one peculiarity: the works were always donated, never sold. Landis and his “philanthropic binges,” as he describes them, finally found a nemesis in Matthew Leininger, a registrar at the Cincinnati Art Museum whose obsessive, implacable efforts to track down the counterfeits at various institutions finally culminated in the unraveling of Landis’s fraud. Despite being a reclusive schizophrenic who rarely interacts with anyone other than his health care providers, Landis takes a witty, often comical approach to his masterful creative process that is fascinating to behold. While posing questions around the definition of art and the value of authenticity, Art and Craft ultimately becomes a captivating study not only of living life with a mental illness, but of our fundamental desire for recognition and acceptance.

—Julia Barbosa

• Photographed by Cullman. (89 mins)

Tickets on sale April 4. Online tickets are available through the SFFS ticketing system. Follow the link below and select "buy tickets." BAM/PFA members receive a discount online by using a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-5186.

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