It was just hanging on the wall of a Frankfurt museum: the small but famous oil painting "The Black Square" (1915) by the Russian painter Kasimir Malevich (1879-1935). Now it's gone, stolen by experienced art thief Vincent (Bernhard Schütz) and his younger henchman Nils (Jacob Matschenz).
The picture is to be handed over to the new owner on a cruise ship. But in the comedy "The Black Square" this Friday (8:15 p.m.) on Arte, the two crooks encounter all sorts of pitfalls.
Because the two have neither tickets nor forged passports, they overwhelm two unsuspecting passengers in the terminal of the Port of Hamburg and quickly take their seats. But when they open their heavy suitcases, it turns out that the passengers who were attacked were supposed to act as impersonators of David Bowie and Elvis Presley.
Bowie and Elvis need to be replaced
The unavailable painter Vincent and the kleptomaniac accomplice Nils promptly have to replace the two entertainers. They desperately try to maintain their camouflage and improvise their way through the daily stage program more badly (Vincent) than rightly (Nils). But the on-board pianist Mia (Pheline Roggan) and the dancer Levi (Christopher Schärf) quickly become suspicious of the two pseudo-artists. The crew manager Helen (Victoria Trauttmansdorff) also learns about her valuable stolen goods.
And then there's the not at all squeamish Martha (Sandra Hüller), who engages Vincent in very weird discussions about the veracity of art - just to get hold of the stolen painting.
Director and author Peter Meister ("Menschenjagd") presents his feature film debut after various short films - a wonderful nonsense with a lot of wit and situational comedy. How these two mismatched crooks prance into a hair-raising story is totally silly, but well worth seeing.
A couple of logical holes don't bother us at all; there are nice swipes at cruises in general and the film ship "MS Atlantic" in particular - the cabins have bed drawers (handy for stolen pictures) and portholes that can be opened (for proper draft).
Bernhard Schütz (64, "Kiss me Kosher") and Jacob Matschenz (39, "Stille Post") finally show in two main roles what they can do. Above all, they are enchantingly funny, although pure desperation soon prevails in their acting - when the real picture suddenly disappears again. Now the true art of the forger is revealed: Vincent, once despised by the art world, is now in demand. A raven black comedy.