MORRISON, Ill. — The Friends of Odell Public Library will present the film story of Maria Altmann, an aging Austrian living in Los Angeles who decides the time has come to stake a long-shot legal claim on the crown jewel of her Jewish family, the famed “Lady in Gold” painting.
The film will be shown at 2 p.m. Jan. 9 at the library, 307 S. Madison St., Morrison.
In 2006, the painting was the property of the Austrian government and was hanging in a museum. However, Maria discovers letters hinting that the painting was perhaps willed to her and her sister. She hires a young lawyer and against all odds, this decidedly odd couple of a young determined American upstart lawyer and a fiercely independent octogenarian team up to take on the Austrian government.
The film is set against the historical backdrop of what happened to Austrian Jews, both their lives and their property, when Hitler annexed their country in 1938. Throughout the film, there are emotional flashbacks, as Maria must face her deeply buried fears of returning to a country she fled in terror nearly 60 years before.
Maria, played by Helen Mirren, not only wants the painting back in her family, but she also is pursuing justice for herself and her family and for all the Jewish families whose possessions and lives were taken by the storm of the Holocaust.
There is no charge to attend the movie, but donations are welcomed.