Tim’s Vermeer

Our Artistic Director Ben Ferris is seeing a great many films at Sydney Film Festival and blogging his reviews for your reading pleasure. Here’s the first of many: TIM’S VERMEER

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My first Sydney Film Festival experience for 2014 was the documentary “Tim’s Vermeer” (2013, USA).

The film follows Texan inventor Tim Jenison on his very intriguing journey towards uncovering how the 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer may have achieved his famous “photographic” quality so distinct in his paintings.

As compellingly ingenious as the theory is – and I won’t give it away here (because this is the main reveal in the film) – I couldn’t help shake the uncomfortable feeling that I was not being shown the whole truth. Whether it was the constant feeling that the participants were always performing for an audience (e.g. Tim Jenison always has the right line at the right occasion, and breaks down in tears at just the right moment), or whether it was that sometimes events were reported but not shown (such as Tim’s private invitation by the Queen of England), I could not shake the feeling that the whole…

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