TIM’S VERMEER | MOVIE REVIEW

TIM’S VERMEER, the review that nearly never happened (I will let Dara explain). You could call this film a semi- biographical study of the artist Johannes Vermeer. This is a film Dara was desperate to see, and eventually we got her there, it took many a trial and tribulation but from all that she could see the entire journey was worth it for the film as it is amazing. TIM’S VERMEER is out now from Sony Classics and is currently playing at Dendy Newtown and Opera Quays and also Cinema Nova. It is rated M and runs for 80mins. Enjoy Dara’s review below…..all the best…..JK.

 

TIM'S VERMEER MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
TIM’S VERMEER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW |MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY DARA SHASHOUA

From the outset I have had a strange relationship with this film, Jason King practically willed for me to get the screening for this in Melbourne as the Sydney Film Festival was on.  I had an invite to the screening and through my own fault missed that. So, I then went to watch it last Sunday, got caught in traffic and missed the session that I was originally going to see. I proceeded to wait around for the next session, indulged in coffee and cake and some browsing in a bookshop for a couple of hours. After a bit of downtime that was sorely needed, I was finally ready to sit down and watch Tim’s Vermeer, oh and a special mention to the Cinnamon Choc Tops at Cinema Nova in Carlton. Divine.

Johannes Vermeer is thought to be one of the greatest painters of all time, you’re not sure who he is?  Think, The Girl with the Pearl Earring. Got it?  His paintings have a photo realistic quality that any other painter has not been able to replicate, the depth of shadow and colour is extraordinary. Most painters have left behind technique manuals that explain how they paint for their apprentices to learn. Vermeer had not left anything behind explaining his processes, so for many years this has been the focus of some discussion and books within the art world.

 

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TIM’S VERMEER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW |TIM TESTS HIS THEORY

 

Tim Jenison, from San Antonio Texas is the founder of NewTek, making a large fortune inventing software and hardware for video and post production. Tim is also a renown tinkerer and has invented some incredible gadgets such as single manned propellant machines that you wear with roller skates, robots and remote controlled flying machines. He is one of those guys who has to always be busy making or playing with something technical.

How do these two people cross paths? Or rather, Vermeer’s paintings and Tim’s incessant need to figure things out? It was a book given to him by his daughter, written by David Hockney – Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters. This lead to the reading of another book – Vermeer’s Camera by Phillip Steadman. These two books discussed the fact that they thought that Vermeer may have used a Camera Obscurra when painting his artworks.  As Tim says of Vermeer’s paintings – “It’s like we are looking at a 350 year old photograph”

Tim’s obsession with Vermeer grew steadily for five years, he even took some time off from work to go and study Vermeer’s life in Delfft in the Netherlands. He studied the paintings, walked his old village. Inspired by the realism of Vermeer’s paintings, Tim created a quest for himself to try and work out exactly how he had painted these works of art.

 

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TIM’S VERMEER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW |TIM PLAYS A CELLO

 

His inspiration came when he was taking a bath, his brainwave was that Vermeer had used a mirror! One night he sat at his kitchen table to test his theory. He set up a black and white photo of his father in law on one piece of board, set up a small mirror with it’s lense focused onto the photo, by glancing back and forth between the photo and his blank canvas he could copy the colour tones of what was reflected from the photo.  For a man who claimed he had never painted in his whole life the result was pretty amazing.

At this point in the story he meets up with his old friend Penn Jillette and Teller, yes the magician guys, Tim retells his story and discovery and they decide to make a documentary. Tim also tells them of his idea to completely recreate Vermeer’s studio and wants to recreate the painting The Music Lesson, exactly. the film is narrated by Penn, because, well, Teller doesn’t talk and he is credited as the director.

 

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TIM’S VERMEER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW |STUDYING THE ORIGINAL

 

Now Tim is not a carpenter, or a tailor or any trade really that can build this set. Yet he does. It absolutely amazed me the detail he went to, to recreate this painting. I guess it also helps that he could afford to build the set and indulge his crazy theory.

Needless to say, he potentially proves his theory correct. What is fascinating is how much trouble he went to and the emotion he felt once the theory was proven. Tim’s Vermeer is one for the art lovers out there. Back in Vermeer’s day Art and Technology were seen as one entity, perhaps we need to think more like this now in our modern age.

 

4 and a Half Pops