Wednesday, April 10, 2013


A friend posted a YouTube video that showed a flash mob “performing” Rembrandt’s Nachtwacht (The Night Watch). I was enchanted by it. And as each member of my family got up in the morning, I made them watch it.

After watching it a few times, I thought about what other than the “coolness” factor captured my attention. I think part of it is the way the producer and director re-imagined The Night Watch. They imagined the fictional story behind the painting. They took a different medium, a combination of performance art, music, and film, and told the same story. They even included subplots—the audience reaction to the story, what was going on with the chicken, etc.

It occurred to me much art is new ways of imagining. In writing there are only a few major plots, and most stories are creative mixes and retelling of those plot lines. (The Greeks limited plots lines to two types—comedy, the story ends in a wedding, and tragedy, it ends in a funeral. I think you could still argue the Greek position by broadening those categories to include works that function as repudiations of the categories. But I digress. Sorry—I took too much literary criticism in college.)

In any case, I think this flash mob short film does just that. Re-imagines the story in a new way while still giving credit to its inspiration.

Or maybe, as my kids might say, “Mom, you’re overthinking it.”

Here’s the video clip. Enjoy.


  1. In all fairness to my children who think that I over-think things, their childhood experience of watching movies at home consisted of me stopping a DVD every few minutes and saying, "Did you notice the metaphor/foreshadowing/symbolism/etc.?" I finally quit using movies as "teaching moments" when one day I stopped the movie and before I has a chance to say anything, they said, "Mom, we noticed metaphor A/symbol B/foreshadowing C."

    My fiendish plan worked! They can't just "watch" a movie. :)

  2. Connie! You make me laugh! I do love to hear there's someone else who can't watch a movie without analyzing every "metaphorA/symbolB/foreshadowingC" moment!

    Loved the art show! Thanks for sharing it.

    By-the-by... Just ordered "Screwing Up Time" on kindle. Can't wait to read it!

  3. Scarlett, I hope you enjoy the book!