More than once, the docents here use film to describe painting; so it is refreshing to turn it around and have painting describe film. At around 3 hours, Wiseman's rather subdued portrait of the National Gallery has an exacting, meticulous structure - light and form from darkness, to faith like a child, finances, lighting, high theory, before finding solace in the joy of art in all its permutations. Yes, even film.
The paintings which may have seemed insignificant at the beginning of the film come to life in the moving last sequence as we've now realised the patient, devoted and ultimately ephemeral work that goes on behind the scenes to rightly honour this art of another time.
The method apparently keeps up the same - in and out of the space under observation, with a shot-countershot between public and private spaces - but the editing system, hélàs, it is trivialized and the sharpness in the observance softened, as if it was an official film promotion of the museum space. What positive thing can we say about the dance between Titian's "Metamorphoses"?
3.5 stars. It's nice to see the meaning behind several artworks, the restoration processes, and all of the behind-the-scene activities that you do not usually see when you visit a museum. This almost-three-hours film can be interesting for someone who is really interested in the topic; other wise, the duration might be too long and it can get a little bit boring.
The trans-codification, applied with the dancing couple, conjures the compenetration of actuality (historian) and timeless mimesis frozen in a suspended climax (aesthetic). The backstage activities (both economical and restorative) animate the museum compound, assigning to people the role of passive actor: the gallery as a giant canvas framed by walls.