TIM’S VERMEER || 2013, USA || Documentary || Directed by – Teller / Written by – Penn Jillette / Produced by – Penn Jillette, Farley Ziegler / Cinematography – Shane F. Kelly / Music by – Conrad Pope / Running time: 80 mins.
Tim’s Vermeer is a documentary that follows inventor Tim Jenison’s efforts to duplicate the painting techniques of the celebrated Dutch 1600s painter Johannes Vermeer.
Teller’s by-the-book traditionalist approach disguises what is actually quite a remarkable feature. That is, despite not attracting attention to its own filmmaking language, Tim Vermeer‘s is as entertaining as it is profound. This is not only due to its investigative side, which sees Jenison unearth the technique that Vermeer used to make his masterpieces. It is also a look at his obsession with these discoveries, and his wish to replicate them in order to make his own, uncanny version of a Vermeer.
A further addition to the film’s rewarding nature is its look upon the stale prejudices held dearly by the art world, and those who set its canon. Said discoveries made by Jenison are in fact looked upon unfavourably by some, which in a way draws an unmentioned and yet clear parallel between art and religion. The fact that the documentary would inspire such subjective and interactive parallels, as well as opening up dialogues without directly instigating them is part of the reason behind it being so fulfilled and thought-provoking. – 4/5