TIFF 2013 Review: Tim’s Vermeer
The ‘Vermeer’ in the title is of course renowned Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer who painted during the 17th century. The ‘Tim,’ on the other hand, is Tim Jenison, a successful inventor and technologist who resembles George Lucas and has a lot free time, money, and dedication.
Tim posits that Vermeer did not paint simply by eye and skill – something else had to have aided him. So, monomaniacal as he is, Tim sets out to see if he can not only figure out how Vermeer painted, but if he can duplicate a process that seems to be more scientific than based on innate talent.
While Tim is a fascinating and likeable figure, eliciting laughs and scoffs in the same breath due to his determined spirit, it is the duo of Penn & Teller, illusionists and celebrities this time taking up producing and directing duties respectively, which make this documentary especially astounding.
They are subtle, and are both very well aware that this story is mind-boggling in its own right. It’s not about getting extraordinary access, or about undermining or attacking – it’s simply a curious investigation. It’s far more a film about the crazed single-mindedness of a brilliant mind than a debunking of a famous painter.
It is delicate and decided – the film and Tim’s painting process. It is painstaking too, as roughly five years of work is boiled down in a spectacular 90 minutes. The journey is surprising, and at some points simply unbelievable with a finish that is near-perfect.
Thursday September 5 – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1 – 6:30 PM
Friday September 6 – Scotiabank 2 – 1:30 PM