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Top 20 Alternative Picks for TIFF 2013: Teller’s Tim’s Vermeer

Tim’s Vermeer – Teller

Section: TIFF Docs
Dates: Thursday 5th, Friday 6th

Buzz: Teller is known to household audiences worldwide as the silent half of the magician duo, Penn and Teller. Their consistently sold out tours and television shows surprise and delight people of all ages with the fascinating ability to unmask other magician’s tricks, often with a comedic flair. Offstage, and away from the razzle dazzle, however, Teller wrote a touching ode to his parents (including many of his father’s previously unpublished cartoons and paintings) and has even directed theatre. For his directorial debut, Teller has focused his camera on uncovering a different type of magic trick: whether Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer used alternate methods to paint his lauded vignette ‘The Music Lesson’. Critics who have already screened the documentary have sung its praises and insist that it is one of programmer Thom Powers’ strongest selections this year. Telluride buzz was through the roof.

The Gist: Tim Jenison, longtime friend of Penn and Teller’s, sets out with authors David Hockney and Philip Steadman to prove the theory that Vermeer used a camera obscura to project an image onto a canvas in order to create ‘The Music Lesson’.


Leora Heilbronn is a Toronto-based writer. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Volver), Coen Bros. (Burn After Reading), Dardennes (Lorna's Silence), Haneke (The Piano Teacher), Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love), Kiarostami (Certified Copy), Lynch (Mulholland Drive), Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds), Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), von Trier (Melancholia)

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