Arch, idiosyncratic British filmmaker Peter Greenway has always had a thing for the Dutch and Flemish painters; his sumptuous films — including The Draughtsman's Contract and A Zed and Two Noughts — are often noted for their Vermeer-like compositions. In Nightwatching, he fashions a droll, debauched conspiracy thriller/art-history drama around Rembrandt’s creation of The Night Watch. (Greenaway completed postproduction on the film in Vancouver, and gave a talk at Pacific Cinémathèque in 2007 while in the city). Nighwatching has a provocative premise (and a plot that recalls Draughtsman’s): that Rembrandt peppered his great masterpiece with clues about murder and malfeasance at the highest levels of Amsterdam society — and that the artist’s subsequent decline in circumstances was a consequence of this affront to the powers that be. “Intriguing and revelatory ... Impressively focused and accessible. In short, one of Greenaway’s best movies — shaped around a truly expressive balls-out performance from Martin Freeman as Rembrandt ... Greenaway went on to deconstruct The Night Watch in his companion film Rembrandt’s J’Accuse” (Trevor Johnston, Time Out). “A rollicking good watch ... Not since The Cook, The Thief, The Wife, and Her Lover has Greenaway thought his way into such an original and artistically poised film” (Andrew O’Hagan, London Evening Standard). Colour, 35mm. 140 mins.
"It's not just Greenaway's best film in years, but one of his best films, period."Time Out | full review
"There's a zest for life in almost every frame."Variety | full review
"Greenaway's group compositions are bracingly cerebral – and sometimes very erotic."Guardian | full review
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MORE PETER GREENAWAY! Rembrandt’s J’Accuse screens April 27-29 + May 2.