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 ... See full summary »
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. Written by
Most people are visually illiterate. Why should it be otherwise? We have a text based culture. Our educational systems teach us to value text over image which is one of the reasons we have such an impoverished cinema.
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Greenaway's documentary companion piece to NIGHTWATCHING, and it shares the same problems. Some parts are very interesting, others throw far too much information at you at once, making it exceedingly hard to follow what Greenaway is getting at. There are also several inferences and leaps of logic that seem like "stretching it" to say the least, but I suppose that's part of critical analysis. While it's extremely impressive that Greenaway has put so much thought, time and effort into interpreting a single work of art, he doesn't succeed in making his obsession contagious.
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