REMBRANDT’S J’ACCUSE (Peter Greenaway, 2008)

The once-UK’s Peter Greenaway has been living in Amsterdam now for a decade. A lovely irony helps launch his pseudo-documentary Rembrandt’s J’accuse, ostensibly a meticulous analysis and deconstruction of Rembrandt van Rijn’s 1642 painting The Company of Captain Frans Banningh Cocq, better known as The Night Watch. Bemoaning how “visually illiterate” we are, Greenaway—who appears […]

F FOR FAKE (Orson Welles, 1975)

F for Fake, also known as Vérités et mensonges (Truths and Lies), is Orson Welles’s exquisite documentary about trickery and fraud—something the world’s most famous amateur magician should know something about. Indeed, the film nearly begins with a cloaked Welles delighting two children with a magic trick at a train depot. It exactly begins with […]

THE CONVERSATION (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

Agonizingly slow, arty, heavy-handed, writer-director Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation wraps a survey of obsessive surveillance inside a tricky marital murder-mystery plot. Like Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup (1966), to which it pays homage, it took the top prize for its year at Cannes. Perhaps Monica Vitti, a member of the jury, waxing nostalgic, pressed for this […]