Nightwatching/Rembrandt's J'Accuse

Peter Greenaway's rarely screened Rembrandt's J'Accuse (2008) and Nightwatching (2007) are essential and vital works of contemporary cinema that must be seen. In the latter, Greenaway takes Rembrandt's The Night Watch as the starting point for a mystery. Rembrandt (Martin Freeman) is commissioned to paint the Amsterdam Musketeers Militia. Then the head of the militia is killed in a dubious shooting accident, and Rembrandt begins to realize that many of the painting's subjects may have had a nefarious hand in the murder. Rembrandt's J'Accuse is a documentary on the painting, which examines 33 of the work's mysteries. Greenaway's voice-over dominates the film as the camera pores over every inch of the canvas, honoring the immense intricacy of this painted image. Also, he gets to act as social critic, as he laments, "Most people are visually illiterate. Why should it be otherwise? We have a text-based culture." See SIFF website for showtimes. (NR) VERONIKA FERDMAN

June 22-24, 2012

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