CLOSE TO VERMEER – Review by Justina Walford

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Suzanne Raes’ documentary, Close to Vermeer, delves into the enigmatic world of Johannes Vermeer, the celebrated painter behind masterpieces like “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” Little is truly known about the artist himself, and that mystery has been studied and debated by scholars as long as his art has been known. This documentary’s essential story is not about Vermeer as much as Vermeer is the framework to tell an even more riveting tale. As the camera pans so intimately close to Vermeer’s paint and canvas, we see the gloves and scopes of study, gently poring over every dab of paint.

In this charming portrait film, Raes follows Gregor Weber, the expressive and sometimes brooding curator for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Just before retirement, Weber embarks on his grand dream of organizing the largest Vermeer exhibition ever. Accompanied by a passionate group of experts, they dissect the layers of Vermeer’s works and make new discoveries. Every detail of the art is under scrutiny as they choose and pursue Vermeer’s art from all over the world. One of the best examples of their meticulous focus on detail and historical significance emerges within a painting’s element —a birdcage. To the untrained eye, this birdcage may appear inconsequential, but for our experts, finding that it is a later addition becomes the trigger for a veritable existential crisis. And that is mere foreshadowing because later a piece of the exhibit gets international attention as not a Vermeer. Continue reading on THE FEMALE GAZE


An award-winning writer of screen and stage, Justina Walford was also the Founder and Festival Director of Women Texas Film Festival for the life of the fest and she was programming director of Oxford Film Festival for two years. A lover of adrenaline-filled movies since she could understand the word “zombie,” she is particularly drawn to strong women’s voices in alternative genres such as horror, action, and science fiction.

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Justina Walford

Justina Walford is a film critic on a mission to spotlight the voices of visionary women behind the camera. Coming from a background in writing for stage and screen, Justina celebrates the diverse narratives and unique perspectives women bring to film. Her reviews not only critique cinematic techniques but also amplify the importance of representation in the film industry. Justina especially enjoys the edgier side of film in the rich and diverse landscape of art created by women. She is always on the hunt for trailblazers in horror and experimental work.