Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

TIFF Review: Teller's Clever Art Mystery Doc 'Tim's Vermeer' Plays Like Magic (CLIP)

Reviews
by David D'Arcy
September 10, 2013 2:25 PM
0 Comments
  • |
"Tim's Vermeer"

“Tim’s Vermeer” is something that Mark Twain could have thought up.

It applies a hard-headed empirical reality check in the spirit of Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison to the theory that the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer used technology (lenses) to arrive at a precision that could not have been achieved with his eyes alone.

We get a respectable painting and a clever movie out of this gambit. And we get a quirky look into the mind of an inventor, Tim Jenison, in the directorial feature debut of Teller, produced by his comedy and performance partner, Penn Gillette.

"Tim’s Vermeer" is a technological twist on the how-to (or how-not-to) first-person doc approach of "Super-Size Me." Jenison is an inventor in San Antonio, Texas, whose creations include the NewTek firm, the videotoaster, an airplane made entirely from elements that he bought at WalMart, and a lip-synching duck. And he’s got a wit along with that tech whimsy. This is not your ordinary tech-nerd.

Tim got wind of the theory that Vermeer used technical help when painting his works, especially the late ones where Vermeer creates an extraordinarily soft mood and tone, and a precision that draws your eye into what seems an infinity of invention. It’s a notion that has been around the art world for some two decades, promoted by the painter David Hockney and, among others, the journalist Lawrence Weschler.   

Preposterous and heretical at first, it seemed to have a logic on closer examination. It also threatened to sabotage Vermeer’s reputation, if it showed that “all” the artist did was trace a reflected composition that had been projected by a camera obscura  -- a series of reflections - onto a surface. But it had not been tried as an experiment. Could anybody be a Vermeer? Even a tech guy in, of all places, Texas?

0 Comments

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Ron Howard Rocks Beatles Concert Tour ...
  • Trailers from Hell Spends 'A Night at ...
  • WATCH: Academy Videos of 'Originals’ ...
  • Read an Interview Between Richard Linklater ...
  • First Reviews of Woody Allen's 'Magic ...
  • Best of the Week: Peter Biskind's New ...
  • Summer Box Office Freefall Continues ...
  • Academy Elects New Board of Governors: ...
  • Will Mark Romanek Follow Kubrick Into ...
  • Venice Film Festival Awards Golden Lions ...