Peter Greenway's Two Rembrandts At Film Forum


Los Angeles Filmforum presents the Los Angeles premieres of two Peter Greenaway films, with imported 35mm prints!  The first, “Rembrandt’s J’Accuse”, is on June 3, and the second, “Nightwatching”, is on June 17.  The two are closely related, fictional and documentary interpretations of Rembrandt and the painting The Night Watch.

“Rembrandt’s J’Accuse,” directed by Peter Greenaway
Los Angeles Premiere!  Imported 35mm print.
Sunday June 3, 7:30 pm The Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian

It’s “CSI: Rijksmuseum” in British obsessive Peter Greenaway’s fascinating film essay/illustrated lecture, a companion piece to his feature drama Nightwatching (and his multimedia installation “Nightwatching” at the famed Amsterdam museum). Rembrandt’s J’Accuse offers a radical forensic analysis of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, arguing, in ways both prosecutorial and playful, that the great painting offers evidence of conspiracy and murder! “The Rijksmuseum is introduced as a crime scene, with the filmmaker digitally inserted, front and center, using a 31-question countdown structure to interrogate The Night Watch’s mise-en-scène. Giving nearly as hammy a performance as Charles Laughton’s in the title role of the 1939 Brit biopic Rembrandt, Greenaway is also extremely convincing in his analysis of the painting’s mysteries… Peering beneath the painted surface and searching in the shadows, tracking that which was cut from the canvas and mapping the network of glances that remain, the filmmaker uncovers a foul, lurid, corrupt, and perversely compelling conspiracy — which is to say, he successfully turns The Night Watch into a Peter Greenaway film” (J. Hoberman Village Voice). “Enthralling, cohesive, and witty … The film brims with juicy conspiracy theories and forensic investigations worth of top-tier TV crime drama” (Richard Kuipers, Variety)
Nightwatching, directed by Peter Greenaway
Los Angeles Premiere!  Imported 35mm print.
Sunday June 17, 7:30 pm  The Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian
Nightwatching, Greenaway’s fictional foray into art-history detecting, was made a year before the more spare Rembrandt’s J’Accuse  Greenaway takes a fictional approach to the painter’s life, portraying Rembrandt’s relations with three women, his wife, his model, and his servant, during the creation of his masterpiece, The Night Watch.  It focuses on the painter himself, played with gusto by Martin Freeman (The Office; Sherlock). Shifting between Rembrandt’s relations with the three women, and the complications that arise when he accepts a commission to paint a group portrait, Nightwatching uses a series of elegant tableaux to dramatize two mysteries — that of Rembrandt’s life, of which little is known, and that of the iconography of his famous painting The Night Watch. Intertwining it all is a murder.
Peter Greenaway was born in Wales and educated in London and trained as a painter for four years, and started making his own films in 1966. He now lives in Amsterdam. He has continued to make cinema in a great variety of ways, which has also informed his curatorial work and the making of exhibitions and installations in Europe from the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice and the Joan Miro Gallery in Barcelona to the Boymans van Beuningen Gallery in Rotterdam and the Louvre in Paris. He has made 12 feature films and some 50 short-films and documentaries, been regularly nominated for the Film Festival Competitions of Cannes, Venice and Berlin, published books, written opera librettos, and collaborated with composers Michael Nyman, Glen Branca, Wim Mertens, Jean-Baptiste Barriere, Philip Glass, Louis Andriessen, Borut Krzisnik and David Lang. His first narrative feature film, The Draughtsman¹s Contract, completed in 1982, received great critical acclaim and established him internationally as an original film maker, a reputation consolidated by the films, The Cook, the Thief, his Wife & her Lover and The Pillow-book, and most recently by The Tulse Luper Suitcases.

Filmforum’s screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and the Metabolic Studio.  Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque.  We also depend on our members, ticket buyers, and individual donors.

The Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028
Tickets: Tickets: $10 general; $6 students/seniors; free for Filmforum members.  Available at Brown Paper tickets:


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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