FIN Review: There Are No Fakes a true gem of a documentary

What starts with a lawsuit by Barenaked Ladies performer Kevin Hearn ends in a web of deceit and forgery that I never could have imagined.

This isn’t a documentary: This true story is an absolute rollercoaster about First Nations painter Norval Morrisseau and whether the hundreds of paintings dated to the 1970’s are authentically his.

The artist himself has passed on, but people on many sides of the debate fight over his legacy. There are proprietors, art dealers, galleries, criminals and an auctioneer on one side, with friends and victims on the other.

But one question remains: Are the painting real, or is Ahearn one of many who was cheated? If he was, it’s the biggest art fraud in Canadian history.

If the painting, and its others from the era, are real, then it puts to bed one of the biggest cultural controversies in years.

This tale director-writer Jamie Kastner weaves is truly engrossing, and there are so many elements and issues at play here it’s hard to get a grip on it all.

There is one thing I know for sure after seeing There Are No Fakes. The sheer talent the filmmaker has on display here — and the story he encapsulates — is nothing short of captivating.

4.5/5 Stars

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