Adele’s Wish by Terrence Turner (2008, 60 min.).Adele’s Wish is the controversial story behind the world’s most valuable painting, the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt. The film recounts the struggle of 92 year old Los Angeles resident Maria Altmann, who sued Austria to recover five Klimt paintings stolen from her family in Vienna by the Nazi’s in 1938. The paintings were considered national treasures by Austria and were proudly displayed in Vienna’s Belvedere Museum for over sixty years. Although it began as a legal dispute, it evolved into a political, cultural and ethical confrontation. In the process, Austria was forced to re-examine not only its role in Nazi art thefts, but also its anti-Semitic past.
Adele’s Wish is more than a story about art restitution. It is also a story about human frailties and individual strengths, reminding us of the power of persistence and the need for personal courage in the struggle for justice.