An 'essayistic' documentary in which Greenaway's fierce criticism of today's visual illiteracy is argued by means of a forensic search of Rembrandt's Nightwatch. Greenaway explains the ... See full summary »
The venerated filmmaker Eisenstein is comparable in talent, insight and wisdom, with the likes of Shakespeare or Beethoven; there are few - if any - directors who can be elevated to such ... See full summary »
The year 1642 marks the turning point in the life of the famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt, turning him from a wealthy respected celebrity into a discredited pauper. At the insistence of his pregnant wife Saskia, Rembrandt has reluctantly agreed to paint the Amsterdam Musketeer Militia in a group portrait that will later become to be known as The Nightwatch. He soon discovers that there is a conspiracy afoot with the Amsterdam merchants playing at soldiers maneuvering for financial advantage and personal power in, that time, the richest city in the Western World. Rembrandt stumbles on a foul murder. Confident in the birth of a longed-for son and heir, Rembrandt is determined to expose the conspiring murderers and builds his accusation meticulously in the form of the commissioned painting, uncovering the seamy and hypocritical side to Dutch Society in the Golden Age. Rembrandt's great good fortune turns. Saskia dies. Rembrandt reveals the accusation of murder in the painting and the ...Written by
Once again, Peter Greenaway has created a film that holds your attention, and tells a story in a very captivating way.
What I found most ironic, and what really bowled me over, was how "unexperimental" this film seemed. After his recent directorial forays ("8 1/2 Women" and the "Tulse Luper Suitcases" come to mind), "Nightwatching" will seem unexpectedly boring in comparison. One might anticipate a visual spectacle, an overwhelming of the senses as seems to be Greenaway's modus operandi. The real richness of "Nightwatching" is in the little things, the simplest of details, and the pure joy of watching a master working within a more traditional cinematic framework.
When I think of the impact "Nightwatching" had on me initially, I am reminded of a similar experience when I recently viewed Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist". I was rather caught off-guard by "Antichrist's" lack of overt experimentation. But as someone who appreciates subtlety and nuance in film, I felt my time was well-spent. Plus, there's nothing I like more than walking away feeling as if I haven't been spoon-fed a story, that I've been allowed to use my BRAIN, and fill in the blanks a bit as the story moves along.
I find it doubly ironic that this film was released internationally in 2007, and only recently released domestically in the US (2010), and to lukewarm reviews at best. Greenaway is an artist never to be underestimated, and I implore you to give this film your utmost attention. It's also kinda cool to see Greenaway "geek out" a bit -- he's so obsessed with Remembrandt and all things Dutch, enjoy!
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