(directed by Teller, 2013)
***+ (out of 5)
> Tim is not an artist.
. He’s a technician, made successful by his innovations in video imaging. But Tim has a fascination with art- or one artist anyway. Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) was a celebrated Dutch artist, perhaps best remembered for “Girl With the Pearl Earring”, and renowned for turning the art world on its ear with a level of photo-realism in his paintings that had never been seen before. Modern scholars look at the extraordinary detail in his work and are forced to speculate that perhaps the celebrated artist used available technology of the era, (the camera obscura was a very popular novelty at the time), to “paint with light” as he did. Using only the tools available at the time, Tim designs and builds a small mirrored device that seems to do the trick, and he becomes obsessed with painting his own “Vermeer”, despite having never picked up a paintbrush.
. Tim spends years of his life on the project, and apparently big wads of cash as well, recreating the room used in Vermeer’s masterwork “The Music Lesson” down to the smallest detail. The work is all so tedious, he teeters on abandoning this project several times, but Tim is a driven man. When he realizes it is by far the most difficult thing he’s ever attempted, he becomes all the more determined to see it through. As a portrait of a man obsessed, this fine doc feels like it could have been made by the great Werner Herzog. (Bet the great German moviemaker would love this film!) And the result of his grueling efforts? STUNNING! His copy of Vermeer’s painting has to be seen to be believed!
. Was the famous painter, like Tim, more technician than artist? Looks like this could very well be the case! Fascinating.
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