I have to admit, Scarlett (Johanssen) was the main reason to turn on the Belgian TV today, usually a guarantee for entertainment at levels long forgotten by our cheap, uninteresting and often distasteful national programming. It is not just that I dislike stereotype Hollywood films, I can live with that, but the Endemol crap of Big Brother, Temptation Island and their endless list of offsprings in so-called 'reality TV' is in itself reason enough to throw the telly out of the window.
but, as I said: Scarlett, oh no.. the 'Girl with the pearl earrings'. It's funny. One has to admire the tries to mimic the techniques used by the 'Sphinx of Delft' on the silver screen, see his use of light, his colours, his themes come back throughout the film. A film that, besides the apparent wealth of the world around Vermeer and his supposed patron Van Ruyven, also shows some of the poverty, the powerplays at low political and family level and the inequalities in society in that time period we now praise in Holland's education system. It is funny really, who can recognize the wealth after 300 years.. If all you see is filth and pigs and disease ;)
But well.. funny.. As I was trying to say, something was fishy about this Delft, the city I studied in. Do I see the famous city hall? The square in front of the New Church? YES. But what else do we see....
Venice... extended long shots of Venetian canals. No such thing exists in Delft or anywhere else in the Netherlands, not even in Utrecht, with it's famed basements at the waterside. We even see gondola's float into buildings through doors in the waterways. (anyone recognizes the building from Ocean's 12th? ;) ) Later in the film, you see Griet, the main character, her name mostly pronounced 'Greed' throughout the film, walk through corridors, with white columns in the streets. The masonry looks Dutch yes, but those covered paths at the side of the road.. no sorry, that'd look more like Italy. Firenze probably, or as a yank would put it: Florence.
Trees, the countryside.. long straight roads, tree lined and always the canal next to them. That should look like the west of The Netherlands right? That could be anywhere near Delft? No... I'd say: Groningen? Overijssel? You would expect poplars and willows... especially in the area near Delft, which is basically a peat swamp.
But then, all's well that end's well: the wife gets 14 kids and the maid is kicked out after the master completes his masterpiece. that's how we recognize our lovely country again: cold and wet.