Rembrandt’s J’accuse – Movie Review
J’accuse is an ‘essay-istic’ 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 background, the context, the conspiracy, the murder and the motives of all its 34 painted characters who have conspired to kill for their combined self-advantage. Greenaway leads us through Rembrandt’s paintings into 17th century Amsterdam. He paints a world that is democratic in principle, but is almost entirely ruled by twelve families. The notion exists of these regents as charitable and compassionate beings. However, reality was different.
This is Peter Greenway’s fascinating look at the Nightwatch, which is supposedly the third or fourth most looked at piece of art in the world. He dissects it in a way that is both dramatic and wildly theatrical and very helpful to understanding how you deconstruct paintings. I’m not sure I buy it completely, but it’s a fascinating look at a different way of looking at art. Four stars.