Rene Gimpel was a French art dealer who flourished in the period between the world wars. He knew everyone; the talented, Proust, Monet, Renoir, the rich; Rockerfeller, Ford and Morgan and the royal; Amelia, Queen of Portugal, the Duke of Marlborough, and the Princess Marat, went everywhere, and sold art to some of the worlds most interesting people. Fortunately he kept a journal, and was a witty, insightful journalist.
Louis Martin-Chauffier, a fellow prisoner in Neuengamme concentration camp toward the end of 1944, described his end in a letter written some years later to Jean Guehenno: “Physically he was no more than a shadow of his former self, as was usually the case with all of them, but morally he had not changed, and that is infinitely rarer. Knowing he was soon to die, he continued, as if nothing was happening, to speak of life and to give his companions, overwhelmed by exhaustion, despair, and disgust, the example of the serenity of a man who, having nothing more to lose and having done what he can, is left with only one duty, which is not to flinch and help others.” This film asks the questions; why did he save his paintings but not himself, …and finally Where does such grace and courage come from?