Sunday, February 7, 2010

Nightwatching 2007

Peter Greenway is definitely one of my favorite filmmakers. It is hard to tell which one I like the most. With films like the “Draughtsman’s Contract”, ”Belly of an Architect”, Drowning by Numbers”, “The Cook, The Thief, The Wife and Her Lover”, ”Prospero’s Book”, “8 ½ Women” and perhaps now that I think about it “ The Pillow Book”. I haven’t seen a movie of his for a long time. “Nightwatching” is not as intriguing or complex in image and narrative as some of his previous work, not as innovative as 'The Suitcases', 'Nightwatching' is however a little of everything. You feel the sensibility of Greeway for sure.

There are references to the earlier films, most obviously to the ' Draughtsman Contract', the latest are so strong that sometimes one may think it is a deep 'remake' of that earliest Greenways' work.

I think he has a particular interest in Rembrandt, example of that is his more recent documentary film “Rembrandt's J'Accuse” 2008. The historic plot is doubtful however neither naive nor unrealistic. And most likely it is just a canvas to put the ideas on: which present in numbers.
In 1642, Rembrandt reluctantly agrees to paint the Amsterdam Musketeer Militia in a group portrait, a portrait that would become his most celebrated painting - Night Watch. Going about his work, Rembrandt discovers that there is conspiracy afoot after a man is shot dead during routine musket practice. Determined to bring these conspiracies to light, the artist builds his accusation meticulously in the form of the commissioned painting itself, simultaneously uncovering a seamy and hypocritical side to Dutch society in the Golden Age.

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