Rembrandt's j'accuse

Peter Greenaway Long documentary - 2008 - 86 min.

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Peter Greenaway's costume piece Nightwatching (2007) not only dealt with Rembrandt's life, but also suggested that the master's Night Watch contained the clues to a murder case. The latter claim is elaborated upon in Rembrandt's j'accuse. In our text-based culture, our capacity to 'read' images is in a deplorable state, says Greenaway. He proceeds to unravel the meaning of thirty mysterious details in The Night Watch . He claims they all refer to a murder plot, hatched by Frans Banning Cocq (the central figure in the military portrait) and other notables. Rembrandt had discovered the conspiracy. His patrons were not happy with his painted indictment and saw to it that the successful artist was reduced to beggary. Which solves yet another enigma. Greenaway himself is the narrator in this richly and inventively illustrated film essay that stands midway between an art-historical lecture and a crime story.


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Elmer Leupen
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