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Nightwatching (2007)

An extravagant, exotic and moving look at Rembrandt's romantic and professional life, and the controversy he created by the identification of a murderer in the painting 'The Night Watch'.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Fiona O'Shaughnessy ...
Marita
Reimer van Beek ...
Titus - newborn
Robert Zalecki ...
Titus - 4 months
Kacper Kasiecki ...
Titus - toddler
Anja Antonowicz ...
Catharina (as Anna Antonowicz)
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

2 November 2007 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Nattvakten  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,500,000 (estimated)
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Peter Greenaway has said of this film: "The 'painter film' is a small genre of its own: Michelangelo, Rembrandt himself (at least twice), Modigliani, Caravaggio, etc, and none more so than just lately. Picasso, Van Gogh (repeatedly), Bacon, Vermeer, and now Goya have received the treatment. I suppose our major aim in the film Nightwatching, apart from trying to match the Master's mastery of light, is to demonstrate Rembrandt as social moralist: it contains a murder mystery - the unraveling of which is the heart of the film. And also to regard Rembrandt as an inventor of cinema before the Lumière brothers...We tried to rise to the challenge in the film, remaking, with high definition digital tape, that upper right-hand corner space of Velázquez's Las Meninas - the area between the walls and ceiling has been described as the greatest bit of painting ever - a painting which is just and only and magnificently a painting of a block of darkly contrasting air. We, too, attempting a grand response Rembrandt image of light, tried to film a block of air that insubstantially floats, irrespective of walls and ceiling. Godard said that the cinema was the truth 24 frames a second. Can painting go better and say that paintings are the truth for all time? What's a second in cinema time if you can have an eternity in painting time? Cinema has come and gone in 112 years. What, then, is the age of painting?". See more »

Quotes

Titia Uylenburgh: Women in the 17th century are allowed to smoke, write, correspond with Descartes, wear spectacles, insult the Pope, and breast-feed babies.
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User Reviews

 
Peter Greenaway's best film and my favorite
13 October 2009 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

I love Rembrandt's work and can spend hours at the museums or galleries watching his paintings, these myriads of color brown shades, the contrast of lights and shadow that makes the faces of his models mesmerizing even if they don't have classical features, the perfect arrangement and settings of the frames that make his paintings (and drawings, and prints) cinematographic and him - a forerunner of movie making back in the 17th Century. There is warm healing energy that his paintings radiate. I admire Peter Greenaway, the true painter turned film director, the possessor of unique style, the master of exquisite frames, the creator of feasts for eyes, ears, and brains. Greenaway's decision to make a film dedicated to the Europe most outstanding Artist, his life, loves, and his most mysterious and dramatic painting, Nightwatching, proved to be the best Greenaway's film I've seen.

Once I started watching the film last night, I could not take my eyes off the screen. I always look forward to seeing Peter Greenaway's film but Nightwatching is his masterpiece. It is my favorite of his work, and it goes to my top favorite films ever. It is long, yes, 135 minutes but I did not want it to end. Besides being as beautiful as any Greenaway's film, it covers so many subjects and does it so stunningly and brilliantly that it literally took my breath away. It includes a mystery behind the famous painting that the historians of Art have tried to solve for over 300 years, and it paints the canvas of life and times of the greatest Painter ever (yes, for me Rembrandt is IT), in the style that Rembrandt himself would've appreciated, and it succeeds in everything it was set to achieve, first and foremost being enormously entertaining. But the main reason why I LOVE the film, it did something I never thought a Greenaway's film would do - it almost reduced me to tears. I did not know he had it in him - to make a film not only clever and intelligent, sharp and satirical, gorgeous and exquisite, no big surprise here, but also gentle, passionate, full of love and tenderness, divine and earthy, and to make me fell in love with the screen Rembrandt, the flawed, loud, lusty, earthy man (outstanding superlative performance by Martin Freeman, he even looks like Rembrandt van Rijn) as much as I have been already in love with Rembrandt the Artist. It is not just a feast for brain, eyes, and ears but the food for soul, for feelings. How dare some viewers and critics call it boring? There is love, beauty, the blackest darkness, the glowing light, intrigue, mystery, crimes, history, grandeur, compassion, sex, sins, depiction of all stages of creative process and relationship between the Artist and his work, and there is Art of the highest quality in the film. There is so much to talk about; the movie provides endless references to works of Art. I just have to mention how masterfully Greenaway refers to three major loves of Rembrandt, three women he was connected to, was inspired by, and immortalized in his paintings. There is Saskia van Uylenburgh, his wife, the love of his life, his soul mate, the woman whom Rembrandt described his feelings for as "close and dear relative that he'd known and needed all his life" as Minerva in the beginning of the film. Later on, after Saskia's death, there was Geertje Dircx, with whom Rembrandt experienced the intense mostly physical affair, and to whom he had given some of Saskia's jewelry. Geertje can be seen laying on the bed in the same exactly pose as Danae on one of the St. Petersburg Hermitage most celebrated paintings. And then there was Hendrickje Stoffels, Rembrandt's last love whom he'd known since she started to work as a maid in his household in her early youth. Hendrickje sat for the paintings of Flora and Bathsheba among others. At one point, we see her striking the pose of A Woman bathing in a Stream from London National Gallery. I see these references to the Rembrandt art as just a few gifts for a grateful viewer from the hundreds the film has to offer. This is the best biography film I've seen. Nightwatching is the movie that makes me believe in cinema. Everything I ever wanted from a film, Nightwatching has and even much much more. One of a kind, it is a marvel, unsurpassable.


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