Simon Curtis‘ new movie stars Helen Mirren and it tells the story of a Jewish-Austrian refugee who campaigns for the return of Klimt paintings which were stolen from her family by the Nazis in 1938. Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction, and despite getting the Hollywood treatment, Maria Altmann’s struggle to seek justice from Austria is based on a true story. Like in Stephan’s case, there is a stubborn refusal of Austria to acknowledge when a mistake has been made, and recalcitrance in putting wrongs right. The moral legitimacy of restitution is put into question when those bodies with the power to see that justice is done abdicate this responsibility.
Woman in Gold is not a movie about the past, it is firmly of the present and is a must-see for anybody wishing to understand Stephan’s case and Austria’s troubled relationship with its restitution obligations.