Sunday, February 27, 2011
Rembrandt's J'Accuse (2008)
This is Peter Greenaway's companion piece to his Nightwatching about the painting of Rembrandt's Night Watch. The film is Greenaway on screen, using clips from the film and new footage of the cast of that film, to tell the story of the painting and the mystery it contains.
I have no idea how true the murder plot is, but Greenaway makes a damn good case for it. He argues that Rembrandt arranged the people in the painting to reveal the plot the militia leaders had contrived to kill one of their own. He also used it to expose the hypocrisy of the members as well. He takes us through 34 of some 50 plus points in detail telling us what he thinks it all means. As I said earlier I have no idea if what he says is true, but I'll go with it as a possibility.
What shines in this film is how Greenaway makes you rethink how you look at a painting. We are not used to seeing paintings as the artists and patrons of Rembrandt's day were so we don't see the references that were put there. We also get bits and pieces of history that bring the painting and the time it was painted alive. Its so informative I really wish that someone would turn him loose and let him do a series of film on art and art history.
This is an amazing film.If you're like me you'll want to watch not only this film but also Nightwatching again. After several misfire films Greenaway seems to once more have hit his stride with his two Rembrandt films.
Currently out as a single movie and as a twin pack with Nightwatching.