“Good things come to those who wait,” and sometimes good things come in the form of obscure Welsh films that are worth waiting for – in this case, the adorable little movie Framed. In order to save precious art from a flooding London museum, the curator has all the paintings moved to a carefully guarded cave in a Welsh mountain. The town at the base of the mountain is tiny, and word travels fast. Through a series of misunderstandings, the young local schoolteacher arrives at the cave with the entire school, expecting a viewing of the famous works. The grumpy curator, once convinced to even let them in the cave at all, refuses to take the art out of its packing boxes. This sparks the foundational controversy of the rest of the movie – is art for everyone, or is it just for the elite?
One piece at a time, one person at a time, the art is seen anyway. Each person is inspired in a different way to create their own art, and the town slowly revives and comes together. The curator, seeing all this (and, incidentally, falling in love with the schoolteacher – duh) realizes the error of his thinking. Art can change the world one person at a time, but some art needs guardians; however, it is not the privilege of these guardians to know who will be inspired by the art they control, or in what way, so in order for art to continue, it is their duty to make it available to as many people as possible. So the curator’s lofty but misguided ideas about the purpose of art are shattered, and the whole town continues to benefit from his newfound kindness long after the paintings return to the museum.
Framed is such an innocence, unassuming movie that its timely message of arts advocacy packs all that more powerful of a punch. It is well worth an hour and a half to marvel at how many different layers of meaning can be crammed into the story of one big-wig art curator and one quirky town.