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Vermeer: Master of Light - art documentary DVD review
VERMEER: MASTER OF LIGHT Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Meryl Streep
Director: Joseph Krakora   Distributor: Microcinema
DVD release: 30 June 2009   Runtime: 57 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
DVD Features: Closed caption

Vermeer: Master of Light, is a National Gallery of Art film dedicated to the specific quest among art lovers to highlight the individual visual and emotional quality that "makes a Vermeer a Vermeer." Through the beautiful exploration of many of Vermeer's most beloved works, viewers venture forth into a world of light and dawning appreciation for the spectacular art Vermeer's incomparable talent birthed.

During the fifty-seven minutes of the production, leading art experts analytically and appreciatively discuss the paintings of Johannes Vermeer. Viewers are taken on an educational tour through the individual works with emphasis on color usage, focal points, use of light and shadow, and the importance of visual impression over reality. The wealth of knowledge discoursed upon by these experts makes for a very engrossing film.

More than just the nitty-gritty of the art particulars, the experts bring a true appreciation and love for what Vermeer accomplished with the overall emotional impressions his art produces on even the least interested passers-by. Vermeer's art is truly about light and the glorious enchanting wonder that he found in some of the most simple and workaday menial tasks. His adoration for women, their movements and expressions, their daily activities and tasks is evident in his chosen muses and art scenes. But the really breathtaking quality of his art is in its ability to make any viewer not only see but truly feel that each captured moment is undeniably celestial even in its painted state.

Narrated by Meryl Streep and directed by Joseph J. Krakora, Vermeer: Master of Light was nominated for a Best Director (Documentary) Emmy and won the statuette for Best Graphic and Artistic Design. The presentation of the wealth of historical and biographical information is accessible to viewers of all ages and backgrounds.

The only minor flaw is Meryl Streep's minimal role as narrator; her lines are so limited as to be almost missed. It is a pity since her role so broadly advertised as a selling point for those eyeing the DVD cover.

Overall, this documentary is a fabulous addition to any personal movie library or for use in schools on a variety of subjects.
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reviewed by Sonia R. Polinsky
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