Nightwatching by Peter Greenaway

In 1654 the Dutch painter Rembrandt awakes from a dream of blindness in his marital bed in Amsterdam, to remember the year 1642, and his most celebrated work later to be known as the Nightwatch. He was then at the height of his powers, his career and his wealth and as a consequence commissioned by the Amsterdam Musketeer's Militia to paint their group portrait, thirty one amateur soldiers of the Amsterdam Home Guard on parade. At the insistence of his pregnant wife Saskia, anxious to create a secure future for their longed-for, unborn child, he finally agrees to accept the commission, prophetically fearing ill fortune.

From the retrospective standpoint of 1654, where his young mistress Hendrickje comforts him in his fear of blindness, Rembrandt recalls his preparations for the Nightwatch, considering the tradition of Dutch Militia painting, visiting the Militia at their musket-firing exercises in the Amsterdam fields, and working on experimental compositions with his usual army of tramps and vagrants taken from the streets around his house in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam.

Suddenly there is a death. The sympathetic captain of the Militia is shot dead at musket practice. It is pronounced an accident. There is a new commanding officer backed by new family members and associates. The commission is re-ordered.

Happy at the healthy birth of a longed for son, after having witnessed the death of three infant daughters, and confident in his continually soaring reputation, Rembrandt begins the preparatory drawings of the 31 sitters of the group portrait, only to become gradually disenchanted with their arrogance and their hypocrisy, their unashamed lust and greed. The Golden Age of Holland, is seen to be not so Golden. The reported calumnies he uncovers increase. Child sexual exploitation at the Amsterdam Orphanages governed by some of his sitters, appears on the agenda. Finally evidence surfaces that the so-called accidental death of the last commanding officer of the Amsterdam Militia was not so accidental.
Forward in 1654, in the marital bed between dreaming and waking, Rembrandt's wife, Saskia appears, and she, Hendrickje, and Rembrandt, argue and discuss and quarrel about their past lives, refashioning their memories of the year 1642, when, with his three painter friends and former pupils, Ferdinand Bol, Gerrit Dou and Carel Fabritius, Rembrandt investigates the apparent murder, uncovering more corroborating evidence. Rembrandt very confidently imagines he can build his accusation of murder against the conspiring soldier-merchants into the painting they have commissioned. He collects all the information he needs to make the entire painting an indictment for those who have eyes to see.

And then his moment of great good fortune changes. He confidently, even arrogantly, unveils the finished Nightwatch to his public, his critics, admirers, the Amsterdam bourgeoisie, and the mob of the Jewish quarter. The painted conspirators understand the message and recoil from his accusation. The reaction of the sitters proves their discomfort and guilt, and they seek at once to try to destroy Rembrandt because they dare not destroy the painting which is already being acclaimed a significant work. They start to create the financial and social circumstances for his descent into penury. His wife Saskia dies, having never fully recovered from childbirth. Grief-struck, miserable and lonely, Rembrandt's confidence falters. He takes into his bed, his child's nurse, Geertje, not suspecting she is a treacherous mistress coerced by the conspirators to degrade him socially.

In 1654, Geertje joins Rembrandt's other women in the marital bed, and the squabbling and bickering, accusations and counter-accusations, the protestations of love and the revealing of confidences, the jealousies and the plans for revenge increase between Rembrandt and his three women.

Moving between 1654 and 1642, after his excessively carnal affair with Geertje has reached depths of self abasement, Rembrandt realises the subterfuge of her treachery, which supported behind the scenes by the conspirators, creates an issue at the law courts and the blackmailed Rembrandt is obliged to make humiliating concessions. He throws Geertje out of his house, where no longer useful, she is imprisoned in a house of correction by the conspirators to shut her up, and Rembrandt is forced to care for her keep. Rembrandt finds a new sentimental sexual love with his young servant and model Hendrickje and the conspirators turn their attentions to her, seeking to humiliate her and Rembrandt in the church courts when she becomes pregnant. Deprived of patrons and commissions, with his creditors baying, and his debts all called in, Rembrandt will sink further into insolvency.

Back in 1642, the denouement has been instigated - the troubled commissioners express their anger, adjust their positions and begin to fall out amongst themselves, and the finished painting is hung in its appointed place in the Amsterdam Militia Headquarters, on a court occasion where the Militia painting commissioners are seeking preferment. There they plan Rembrandt's blinding, the blinding that Rembrandt continues to dream about in 1654, a blinding that is in fact no dream but a reality.

2007, 134 mins.

World premiere Venice Film Festival 2007


Directed and written by Peter Greenaway

Martin Freeman
Emily Holmes
Eva Birtistle
Johdi May
Toby Jones
Jonathan Holmes
Michael Teigen
Kevin McNulty
Agata Buzek
Natalie Press
Fiona O'Shaughnessy
Reimer van Beek
Robert Galecki
Kacper Kasiecki
Anja Antonowicz
Harry Ferrier
Matthew Walker
Hugh Thomas
Krzysztof Piecynski
Jonathan Young
Andrzej Seweryn
Maciej Zakoscielny
Chris Britton
Michael Culkin
Jochem ten Haaf
Gerard Pluketet
Adrian Lukis
Adam Kotz
Rafal Mohr
Maciej Marczewski
Grazyne Barszczewska
Weonika Migon
Richard McCabe
Robert J Page
Magdalena Gnatowska
Alicja Borkowska
Dewi Williams
Magdalena Smalara
Aleksandra Lemba
Marta Scislowicz
Mateusz Kosciukiewicz
Katia Paliwoda
Elzbieta Romanowska

Produced by
Kim Argot - Associate producer
Jamie Carmichael - Executive producer
Carlo Dus - Co-producer
Christine Haebler - Co-producer
Grzegorz Hajdarowicz - Executive producer
Bénédicte Humbel - Line producer (as Benedicte Hermesse)
Eliane Huss - Line producer - Wales
Linda James - Executive producer
Kees Kasander - Producer
Lisette Kelder - Assistant line producer
Jenny Mitchell Assistant producer - UK
Piotr Mularuk - Co-producer
Magdalena Napieracz - Co-producer
Justyna Pawlak - Assistant producer
Larry Sugar - Executive producer
Paul Trijbits - Executive producer
Stéphanie Verger - Assistant line producer

Music by
Wlodzimierz Pawlik

Cinematography by
Reinier van Brummelen - Director of photography

Film Editing by 
Karen Porter

Casting By
Corinne Clark
Janusz Gosschalk
Weronika Migon
Tania Polentarutti
Marina Wijn
Peter Wooldridge - (as Peter Wooldrige)

Production Design by
Maarten Piersma

Art Direction by
Rosie Stapel
James Willcock - (as James Wilcock)

Set Decoration by
Dory van Noort

Costume Design by
Jagna Janicka
Marrit van der Burgt

Makeup Department
Gemma Berry - makeup assistant - Wales
Joanna Bochenska - makeup assistant - Poland
Malgorzata Dlugosz - makeup assistant - Poland
Janusz Kaleja - makeup artist
Sara Meerman - key hair stylist / key makeup artist
Kate Petersen - makeup artist - Wales
Marcin Rodak - makeup artist - Poland
Karolina Wezyk-Labunko - makeup assistant - Poland
Monika Wisniowska - makeup assistant - Poland
Olga Wisniowska - makeup assistant - Poland
Krystyna Zbroszczyk - makeup assistant - Poland

Production Management
Andrzej Besztak - production manager - Poland
Sally Dixon - post-production supervisor - Canada
Owen Gower - assistant production manager
Gerry Toomey - production manager
Jochem van Rijs - post-production supervisor - EU
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Stacy Fish - first assistant director
Weronika Migon - second assistant director - Poland
Nick Murray - second assistant director - Wales
Mike Rymer - third assistant director - Wales (as Mike Rhymer)
Piotr Szczerbic - third assistant director - Poland

Art Department
Domino Daugherty - painter
Rob Duiker - carpenter
Eljo Embregts - art department coordinator
Lidewij Kapteijn - construction manager
Edouard Pallardy - painter
Andrzej Rychtarczyk - construction manager - Poland
Anna Szymiec - art department assistant - Netherlands & Poland
Dione van der Hoeven - head painterMenno Verduin - carpenter
Marek Warszewski - art department assistant - Poland

Sound Department
Ken Biehl - backgrounds editor
Brent Calkin - additional sound mixer
Christopher Cleator - adr mixer (as Chris Cleator)
Tony Gort - sound designer / sound editing / sound supervisor
Don Harrison - foley artist
Maurice Hillier - production sound mixer
Jeff Jackman - foley editor
Krzysztof Klimko - boom operator - Poland
Matt Kunau - sound consultant - Dolby (as Matthew Kunau)
Ian Mackie - foley artist
David Maguire - assistant boom operator - Wales
Hugh Maguire - boom operator - Wales
Jerzy Matczuk - boom operator - Poland
Linda McAteer - post-production sound coordinator
Roger Morris - adr mixer / dialogue editor
Miguel Nunes - adr editor
Dorian Pareis - foley editor
Tom Perry - sound re-recording mixer
Josephine Reynolds - cable boy
Rick Senechal - foley editor / foley recordist
Greg Stewart - sound re-recording mixer
Candisha Story - adr recordist

Special Effects by
Doug McCarthy - special effects (as Doug McCarthey)
Leszek Olbinski - special effects
Marek Pinkowski - special effects
Mike Wild - special effects

Visual Effects by
Eri Adachi - rotoscope artist - Rainmaker
Simon Ager - lead digital compositing artist
Graeme Baitz - roto lead - Rainmaker
James Ballard - digital intermediate assistant - Dragon DI
Richie Basilan - digital compositor
Dan Brittain - digital compositor
Geoffrey R. Case - DI colourist - Dragon DI
Valentina Catena - on-line assistant - Dragon I
Kristin Dearholt - digital production manager
Maggie Evans - visual effects producer
Luis Alejandro Guevara - visual effects editor
Myfanwy Harris - digital intermediate assistant - Dragon DI
Peter Hart - lead matchmove artist
Alex Kyrou - digital film I/O technician - Rainmaker
Matthias Lowry - digital compositing artist
Benjamin Miller - rotoscope artist
Sam Nixon - senior matchmove artist
Vasho Pekar - rotoscope artist - Rainmaker
Enrico Perei -senior digital compositing artist
Lee Pierce - digital compositing artist
Drew Shields - senior matchmove artist - Rainmaker
Bruce Steele - digital effect artist - Dragon DI / lead digital compositing artist
Luke Vallee - digital compositor
Mike Washburn - rotoscope artist
Joni Williams - rotoscope artist
Jessica Woods - roto artist
Paul J. Wright - scanning and recording manager - Dragon DI

Sandor Bertalan - stunt double
Sándor Boros - stunt performer (as Sandor Boros)
László Imre - stunt team - horses (as Imre Laszlo)
Levente Lezsák - stunt performer (as Levente Lezsak)
Zbigniew Modej - stunt coordinator - Wales

Camera and Electrical Department
Cees Aloserij Jr. - grip
Cees Aloserij Sr. - key grip - Wales (as Cees Aloserij)
Ruzbeh Babol - camera operator
Marcin Bogucki - electrician - Poland
Kerry Brown - stills photographer
Piotr Bujnowicz - stills photographer
Adrian Ciesielski - electrician - Wales/Poland
Maciej Cyran - dolly grip
Marek Czpak - key grip - Poland
Irma De Vries - video assist
John Dowzell - electrician - Wales
Via Goeludy - electrician - Wales
Gaetan Jalbert - rigging gaffer (as Gaetan [Gates] Jalbert)
Tomasz Kitrasiewicz - electrician - Poland
Remigiusz Kubiak - grip
Fabryka Obrazu - stills photographer
Tadeusz Obuchowicz - focus puller
Sara Pickett - technician - HD Viper
Owen Richards - electrician - Wales
Marek Rolka - grip equipment
Krzysztof Sankowski - dolly grip
Peter Smith - gaffer
Jaroslaw Wierzbicki - best boy electrician - Poland

Casting Department
Jessica Kingstone - background casting - Wales

Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sarah Bozano - costumes assistant - Netherlands
Rebecca Cunningham - costumes assistant
Karen de Meijer - costumes assistant - Netherlands (as Karen De Meijer)
Marcella Hamelijck - costumes assistant
Rosanna Hoogendoorn - costumes trainee
Katarzyna Lewinska - associate costume designer - Poland
Annette Mosk - costumes assistant - Netherlands
Eleonora Owsianka - costume master - Poland (as Ela Owsianka)
Ruth Taylor - costumes trainee
Jookje Zweedijk - assistant costume designer - Netherlands

Editorial Department
Irma De Vries - assistant editor
Leander Huizinga - post-production coordinator - EU
Elmer Leupen - additional editing
Kryssta Mills - post-production coordinator - Canada

Music Department
Don Mann - music editor

Other crew
Jennine Baker - production accountant
Erik Bakker - production accountant
Barbara Bruni - assistant to co-producer - UK
Phil Claydon - production coordinator - Wales
Robert Croma - production assistant
Eirlys Dafydd - set trainee - Wales
Magdalena Daniszewska - assistant to co-producer - Poland
Anne Derks - production assistant
Keith Evans - location trainee
Owen Gower - location manager
Rob Grundy - armourer
Ineke Kanters - head of development
Agnieszka Kik - production coordinator - Poland
Nick Leese - head of publicity
Graham Mathews - location manager / scout
Jorn Mooij - production accountant
Claudia Morgado - script supervisor
Anna Palka - location manager / set manager
Mandy Posthuma - assistant production accountant
Simon Pritchard - location assistant
Melissa Ruffle - production accountant
Marita Ruyter - assistant - Mr Greenaway
Joe Sisto - legal services
Natascha Teunissen - assistant - Kees Kasander
Claire Warnes - senior business affairs executive
Haydn Wazelle - deliveries coordinator
Richard Williams - location assistant
Peter Wooldridge - dialogue coach

ob Gray
Jenny Mitchell - in loving memory of