Local Filmmakers to Present Little-Known Tale of the Mona Lisa
Most people don’t know it, but the most famous painting in the world was taken from the Louvre in Paris on August 21, 1911, and disappeared without a trace for nearly two and a half years. ‘Mona Lisa is Missing’ is the true story of Vincenzo Peruggia, the Italian immigrant house painter who took the painting from The Louvre and kept it in his one-room apartment in Paris. He was never caught until he returned the Mona Lisa to Florence through an Italian art dealer, claiming that he stole the painting to return it to its rightful owners – the Italian people.
Joe Medeiros spent over 30 years trying to find out the details of the story, and the real reason for the theft, leading to an epic journey which took him to Dumenza, Italy, on to the Louvre, to Peruggia’s hiding place in Paris, to Florence, Italy, where the painting was returned, sifting through thousands of documents in the French and Italian archives.
Written and directed by Joe Medeiros and produced by Justine Mestichelli Medeiros, this intriguing film is also quite funny, which considering Medeiros’ background, shouldn’t be a surprise – he was the head writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for 17 years. He’s been shooting and editing his own short films since the early 1970s when 8mm cameras and splicing tape were in use. ‘Mona Lisa is Missing’ is his first feature-length documentary.
Manchester Community Library will present a screening of ‘Mona Lisa Is Missing’ on Thursday, October 26, at 7 p.m. Joe and Justine will lead a discussion about the making of the film afterward. Local rabbi and comedian Bob Alper will introduce the pair, and offer a few minutes of stand-up comedy to start off the evening. The program is free and open to all; donations to the Library are gratefully accepted to offset programming costs. Manchester Community Library is located at 138 Cemetery Avenue, Manchester Center. For information, call 802-362-2607.