|6:30 p.m.||Rembrandt’s J’accuse|
Peter Greenaway (England/Netherlands, 2008)
“Just because you have eyes does not mean you can see,” challenges the great director-contrarian Peter Greenaway in his new cine-essay, which reveals the mysteries hidden in plain sight in one of the most famous paintings of all time, Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. Where most see only a great work of art, Greenaway dissects the Dutch masterpiece to uncover an indictment, a conspiracy, and a murder mystery sweeping across the ruling elites of Amsterdam’s Golden Age. Hosting the proceedings like a well-mannered twenty-first-century judge, Greenaway “investigates” each of the painting’s thirty-four characters, their poses and costumes, as well as the picture’s setting and lighting, to discover clues to Rembrandt’s fascinating take on, and indictment of, the power struggles of seventeenth-century Amsterdam. In the process, Greenaway moves far beyond narrative and documentary filmmaking (further beyond his already out-there early works like Drowning by Numbers or The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover) to level his own j’accuse at contemporary visual illiteracy. With actors (including Martin Freeman of British TV’s The Office) restaging certain scenes and Greenaway’s clever intellectual side-notes and diversions (the development of candle-making in relationship to painting aesthetics, for instance), Rembrandt’s J’accuse will change how you view art, and the world.
• Written by Greenaway. Photographed by Reinier van Brummelen. With Greenaway, Martin Freeman, Emily Holmes, Eva Birthistle. (90 mins)