When we let our gaze rest upon Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, a monumental and supernatural world reveals itself to us. This work painted by Jan and Hubert Van Eyck in 1432 offers more than what initially meets the eye. Behind the sacred narrative lies an artistic adventure that heralds the birth of our modernity.
Seventy minutes of incomparable beauty. From the script that seeks to plumb the depths of the mysterious works of the Van Eyck brothers to the cinematography, this painting lesson from Belgian filmmakers Jérôme Laffont and Joachim Thôme is nothing short of miraculous.
Playing with elements of framing and mise en abyme, alternating between interviews and the unveiling of the famous altarpiece, the film explores the layers of meaning in a 15th-century work of art that ignited a kind of revolution in artistic perspective, on the same scale as animation or works in 3-D. The film’s subtle and magnificent style of capturing images, as well as its captivating and intelligent commentary, plunge us into an examination of how reality is perceived. For the first time in art history, viewers no longer saw religious figures, but ordinary humans: wingless angels, musicians whose brows furrowed with effort as they sang, frank facial expressions, beings imbued with life, depicted at nearly life size. Through the multitude of these realistic details, these Middle Age viewers experienced the shock of seeing real life depicted in art. The Temptation of Reality is a must-see for anyone who appreciates music, art, or—simply—grace.
Born in Brussels in 1980, Joachim Thôme graduated from the INSAS. He now works as chief editor on many documentaries and short films. As a director, he started shooting musical videos with international performers and composers. In 2009, he founded the production company Les Productions du Verger which produces his first documentary feature, S'enfuir, a film about the life and work of the belgian composer Albert Huybrechts.
Jérôme Laffont is a director and producer. He was born in France in 1979, and graduated from INSAS in filmmaking. He is the author of several documentaries. In 2008 he co-produced with Marie-France Collard and Foued Bellali, the feature film Resist is not a crime on the misuse of anti-terrorism laws in Belgium. In 2009, he realized Algeria, Images of a fight which proposes a reflection on the images shot during the war of Algeria by both the French army and by militant filmmakers, like René Vautier. In 2011, he produced the documentary André Renard for RTBF, portrait of the trade unionist from Liège and leader of the strikes of the winter of 1960. He joined Les Productions du Verger in 2010, a company in which he produced numerous films.