Rembrandt's J'Accuse | Chicago Reader

Rembrandt's J'Accuse

In much of this 2008 video, director Peter Greenaway appears in a little box near the center of the image to lecture viewers (perhaps hector would be a better word) on his theory that The Night Watch, Rembrandt’s most celebrated painting, is actually an indictment of a murder. Marshalling nearly every part of the large group portrait as conspiracy evidence, Greenaway argues well but is perhaps too sure of himself. He’s fascinated by systems and intellectually playful in the extreme, arguing that our culture has learned to read but not to see, which explains how we’ve missed Rembrandt’s narrative. But when Greenaway argues for visual literacy, what he really means is treating pictures as texts; the amazing use of line, light, and rhythm that distinguishes Rembrandt from any prose writer go unmentioned. 86 min.



  • Peter Greenaway


  • Emily Holmes
  • Martin Freeman
  • Eva Birthistle
  • Jodhi May
  • Toby Jones
  • Jonathan Holmes
  • Michael Teigen
  • Kevin McNulty
  • Agata Buzek
  • Nathalie Press
  • Fiona O'Shaughnessy


  • Peter Greenaway

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