Some months ago Mia and I were tempted to watch the National Gallery documentary film being exhibited at the Saldanha Cinema and the one reason that had me not to do so it was the fact that the film ran for three hours.
Despite being an Art lover I felt it might have been too tiring for me to watch, particularly because I am a woman of details and enjoy the process of slowly pondering on certain paintings, which a documentary I cannot stop would not allow me to do.
I am particularly happy not to have watched it then and to have decided upon buying the film, which has just come out in Portugal once my initial instinct was right and I am now almost certain I wouldn't have liked it as much as I have now, given the possibility of stopping it as many times as I have felt it necessary to.
The documentary takes us inside the world of the National Gallery, allowing the Museum to talk for itself, whether by means of the loose displayed scenes of people and people's expressions in the exhibition halls, the guided lectures for the general public including specific ones for children, teenagers and blind people and even the rather boring (yet complementary) budgetery considerations brought out in filmed meetings.
I was equally impressed by the re-touching antique technique Art work that has been included in the documentary which provides an additional perspective as to what the "behind the scene" work connected to an Art gallery, such as this one, is really about.
I am not surprised it has been among the audience choice awarded films, together with having been nominated for several other awards ... and part of that excellency is owed to the film director.
"Meticulously crafted, intellectually intricate and touched with profundity. An invigorating portrait. A tribute to the wonder of creative expression." - Village Voice.
"Truly inspiring (...) it's like being lulled with intelligence." - The Telegraph.
"(...) There can be nothing ordinary about such an extraordinary place. Furthermore, Wiseman's special gift as a filmmaker has been to show how searching attention reveals that there is really no such thing as ordinariness." - The Boston Globe.