A Real Vermeer (Een Echte Vermeer) (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: History, Drama
Director: Rudolf van den Berg
Distributor: Cinéart
Duration: 110 minutes

A Real Vermeer (Een Echte Vermeer) (DVD) – Movie Review

Site Score
7.8
Good: Portrayal of van Meegeren's character
Bad: Filmography and sound don't always match the setting
User Score
7.0
(2 votes)
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Rating: 7.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter during the Golden Age. Up until this day, he is very well known, and has been the inspiration for books and films such as ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’. Also to painters he was, and probably still is a huge inspiration. Han van Meegeren, for example, looked up to him and studied his techniques very closely. Nonetheless, it’s a thin line between learning one’s art, and forging it.

Een Echte Vermeer

Han van Meegeren (Jeroen Spitzenberger) is a young Dutch painter, and in the 1920s, he proves to have quite a promising talent, as he paints very likeable paintings, based on those of great masters such as Johannes Vermeer. Also Bredius (Porgy Franssen), the most influential art critic of that time in the Netherlands, thinks that van Meegeren might achieve considerable success in the future. One day, at an exhibition, van Meegeren meets Jolanka Lakatos (Lize Feryn), a woman he immediately falls in love with. Unfortunately, she’s the wife of Bredius, and thus completely out of his league.

Something must have spurred between the two though, as Jolanka suddenly shows up in Han’s painting class. The two get to know each other better, and Han makes a portrait of her. When he showcases it at his new exhibition, things turn sour though. Bredius is not a fool, and thus when he sees the painting, he immediately knows what is going on. He uses his influence as an art critic to completely destroy van Meegeren’s reputation, stating that his art has no soul, no originality, and is simply amateurish.

Een echte vermeer 1

Difficult times are ahead for Han van Meegeren, but he’s out for revenge. Together with his brother Theo (Roeland Fernhout), he already managed once to pass off a fake painting as real, but now the stakes are higher. To humiliate Bredius completely, he plans to paint a completely new painting, but have it authenticated by Bredius himself as a real Vermeer. What starts as a one-time thing, soon ends up getting way more complicated. By this time, World War two is raging on, and Reichsmarschall Göring is looking to add a Vermeer to his collection, one that Theo and Han happily sell him. Once the war is over, trouble really starts, as van Meegeren is on trial for high treason, for collaborating with the Germans.

Truth be told, the story of this film isn’t told as straightforward as we just portrayed in the previous paragraphs. Scenes of the trial are mixed in with the otherwise chronological story, making it all look a bit more interesting and complicated. The filmography uses techniques that you might not really expect in a historical drama such as this. Also the music is hardly ever really adjusted to the period the film is set in, making the whole feel more modern, but also a bit out of place sometimes.

Een echte vermeer 2

Jeroen Spitzenberger really manages to present you every aspect of his character Han van Meegeren. Van Meegeren evolves quite a bit throughout the course of the film, thus wasn’t an easy character to play, yet we can only commend Spitzenberger for his achievement. Lize Feryn at first came across as a bit too reserved and too nicely speaking, to the point where she didn’t come across very genuine. This might have something to do with the character she played, but still it bothered us a bit. Nonetheless, this got less prominent further into the film, making her performance still very likeable.

Other than the trailer, there are no extras on this DVD release, which feels a bit like a missed opportunity. Seeing the film is based on true facts, it would have been nice to have a bit more info about the real van Meegeren, or some hints as to where the film differs from the true story. Despite the lack of extras, the film still stands really well on its own though.

Conclusion

A Real Vermeer is a film that will definitely please because of its story, even though the filmography and sound aren’t always very conventional. The acting is pretty decent, making this a very interesting film to watch. Only loosely based on a true story, you shouldn’t expect too much of a history lesson, but nonetheless, you’ll not be bored watching this one.

Een echte vermeer 3

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A Real Vermeer (Een Echte Vermeer) (DVD) - Movie Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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