Special features: Commentaries; deleted, extended and alternate scenes; Toronto International Film Festival Q&A
Tim Jenison, Penn Jillette, David Hockney, Philip Steadman, Martin Mull
Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did seventeenth century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically, 150 years before the invention of photography? Spanning ten years, his adventure takes him to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces, to the north coast of Yorkshire to meet artist David Hockney, and even to Buckingham Palace to see a Vermeer masterpiece in the collection of the Queen
Rating: PG-13; for some strong language -- CHV rating: G
DVD, widescreen presentation; described video
Blu-ray, region A, widescreen (1.78:1) presentation; 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English description track 5.1 Dolby digital; 1080p high definition; requires Blu-ray player
English dialogue; French subtitles; subtitled for the deaf and hard of hearing; described video
Would a great work of art be any less great if there was a little technical assistance involved? Computer graphics pioneer Tim Jenison had a fascination with the theory championed by David Hockney and Philip Steadman that the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer may have painted with the aid of a camera obscura, a special projection device that could have helped him reproduce sight lines and shadings with superhuman accuracy. In 2008, he set out to try and deduce just how that might have been done, with his friends Penn & Teller on hand to document the process (Teller directs, Penn narrates). For the next five years, Jenison worked out a process and spent countless hours devising mechanisms that he thought would allow him to make an almost exact replica of Vermeer's The Music Lesson, despite having no previous experience with painting. The film is a nerd's paradise, full of tinkering and speculation. It gets bogged down in minutae at times, but ultimately, it makes a great case that art and technology go hand in hand.