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Nightwatching: Cinema - Script


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"There is a conspiracy painted in Rembrandt's The Nightwatch. The sinister title of the painting alone suggests we should look for it. And we should listen too to the sound-track of the painting. Amongst all the hullabaloo, the dogs barking, the drummer drumming, the clattering of thirteen pikes, the hallowing of Banning Cocq, the loudest sound is of a musket shot. You can see the flame of the firing, bursting forth behind the head of the foreground shining figure in yellow, who carries the head of his halberd where his prick should be, and whose belly is groped by the shadow of the hand of his companion. Where did the bullet go? We should investigate, and when we do, in the end, with a little ingenious adventuring, we can plainly see that the whole gaudy endeavour of this painting of Rembrandt's The Nightwatch (...) is going to stir up trouble. It is, in that tradition where great painters are known by their Christian names, Rembrandt's great subversive act - his J'accuse. The painting is a demonstration of murder with the murderers all picked out in detail. How delicious is the thought that Rembrandt got paid, and got paid quite well for revealing the truth about that part-time home-guard, Amsterdam burgher-party playing at soldiers in the Golden Age of Holland's greatest fifteen minutes of Warhole good fortune. Peter Greenaway"

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