Rembrandt’s J’accuse

Controversial British filmmaker Peter Greenaway never fails to astound, confound, titillate and provoke. Recently, he has turned his attention to reinterpreting great works of art. Roberta Smith wrote in The New York Times: “If you’re in town for the Venice Biennale, don’t miss (Greenaway’s) marriage of High Renaissance painting and advanced technology that is ‘The Wedding at Cana’…possibly the best unmanned art history lecture you’ll ever experience.” Equally inventive is his “Rembrandt’s J’accuse,” a first-person analysis of “The Night Watch,” the 1642 masterpiece on view in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Greenaway claims that the artist laid out dozens of clues regarding a murder—and for this indiscretion was forced into bankruptcy. Secret alliances, homosexual relationships, phallic symbolism, a transvestite dwarf, illegitimate children, and a Hitchcockian cameo by Rembrandt himself, all come into play. Greenaway complements his revisionist art history with witty dramatic recreations of these conspiracy theories that reference Rembrandt’s own aesthetic in their elegant framing and lighting. [Synopsis courtesy of Film Forum]

A Zed & Two Noughts

Oliver Deuce, a successful doctor, is shattered when his wife is killed in a freak car accident involving a car being driven by Alba Bewick colliding with a very large rare bird. His twin brother Oswald is researching how carcasses decay at the local zoo. Alba survives the accident although she loses one leg, and her sinister physician eventually removes the other ‘because it looked so sad all alone’. Oswald and Oliver become involved in a menage a trois with Alba, and uncover very dubious trafficking in zoo property. But ultimately their only goal is to try and understand their mortal condition.

The Pillow Book

Nagiko (Vivian Wu) is a Japanese model in search of pleasure and new cultural experience from various lovers. The film is a rich and artistic melding of dark modern drama with idealized Chinese and Japanese cultural themes and settings, and centers around body painting.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato

In 1931 the Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein travels to Guanajuato to direct his film Que viva México. There he encounters a new culture and its dealings with death; he also discovers another revolution – and his own body. Peter Greenaway depicts Eisenstein as an eccentric artist who travels to Mexico filled with the hubris of being an internationally celebrated star director. Once there, he gets into difficulties with his American financier, the novelist Upton Sinclair. At the same time he begins, in the simultaneously joyful and threatening foreign land, to re-evaluate his homeland and the Stalinist regime. And, in doing so, he undergoes the transition from a conceptual filmmaker into an artist fascinated by the human condition. Under his gaze, the signs, impressions, religious and pagan symbols of Mexican culture assemble themselves anew. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlinale]

Goltzius and the Pelican Company

Goltzius and the Pelican Company tells the story of Hendrik Goltzius, a late 16th century Dutch printer and engraver of erotic prints. A contemporary of Rembrandt and, indeed, more celebrated during his life, Goltzius seduces the Margrave of Alsace into paying for a printing press to make and publish illustrated books. In return, he promises him an extraordinary book of pictures of illustrating the Old Testament’s biblical stories. Erotic tales of Lot and his daughters, David and Bathsheba, Samson and Deliah and John the Baptist and Salome. To tempt the Margrave further, Goltzius and his printing company will offer to perform dramatisations of these erotic stories for his court.


A triptych of short stereoscopic films by Peter Greenaway, Jean-Luc Godard and Edgar Pêra. Includes “The Three Disasters” by Godard, “Cinesapiens” by Pêra and “Just in Time” by Greenaway.