Girl with a Pearl earring (2003)

“Girl with a pearl earring” (2003)


Hyper-realism and light

Light as a cloth: The window was opened and the light got in. It covered surfaces, it covered someone. With Vermeer, it’s all about pointing out personalities through shadows and soul-defining surfaces. The dutch XVII’s century produced Vermeer and Rembrandt. Both changed the meaning of light in composition and content and wrote a fundamental chapter in visual construction (composition). But while with Rembrandt we have light as a focus, which dominates and drives the other elements, whose personality and meaning are shaped and bended to that light the painter chooses, with Vermeer we have other situation: light as a cloth, tranquil, blissful light, the one that comes through glass on a sunny yet clouded morning. Usually he always uses the same kind of light, and allows it to uncover what there is to uncover in the model (“you looked into my soul”). The final result is like a photograph of a character, below the surface (like the dark camera which “shows” the painting). This is a very fascinating theme, and in what concerns cinema it is, to my view, at once very hard to work out and very fascinating. This is because cinema is primarily, to this moment, about image, and this theme is so about image that makes it cinematic to the core. So, forget stories, forget conventional narrative, to do this, one will have to do it visually. And ask light for a help. This is where Eduardo Serra comes in. It’s not common for me to agree with the majority of the opinions on which are the highest points in the careers of people, but here i do believe all about this film had the perfect measures of Serra’s work. And he delivers it. All cast and crew (obviously this is exaggerating) is here to provide Serra with something to photograph. And he performs Vermeer so well… Photography is the strongest presence of Vermeer in this film, his light is a character. It doesn’t really “exist”, but it’s so physical here. So this would be hyper realism in cinema; Truer than truth. Firth would be apparently a miscast, but he stands alright here and Johanson here is all about face, lips, hair and look. That’s how she fits.

My evaluation: 4/5 A very good film about painting which actually is coherent with the art it depicts.

This comment on IMDb


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