This gripping doc follows the theft of one of the world’s most prized musical instruments, tracking each of the investigation’s shocking twists and turns.
When Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond was tased and robbed in a parking lot in 2014, the crime captured international headlines not because of the violence or brazenness of the attack, but because of what was stolen. Almond was carrying one of the world’s most precious (and expensive) instruments: a 1715 Stradivarius violin rumored to have been played by the devil himself and valued at $6 million. In Plucked, director Joel Van Haren delves first into the elite world of instrument connoisseurship before shifting gears into a thrilling whodunnit. With the incredibly delicate violin at large in snowy Milwaukee, the police must race against the clock to recover the instrument before an irreplaceable piece of musical history is lost forever. Their investigations eventually lead them to a very idiosyncratic suspect, whose story fascinatingly complicates and deepens this already bizarre saga. With Plucked, Van Haren has accomplished something remarkable, drawing together topics as seemingly disparate as 18th Century Italian violin-making and contemporary inner-city poverty to create a thoughtful, entertaining, and often troubling depiction of the ways race and class inform our notions of culture, and who can access it.
In Competition: Documentary Feature Award
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