All the Vermeers in New York

Director: Jon Jost
Screenwriters: Jon Jost

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


Prolific, political and peripatetic Jon Jost is a genuine cinema maverick, who works not so much against the system as out of it, with an independence that is that is both exhilarating and harsh. Even after eleven features about the people of this nation, made all across the country (at a cost ranging from two thousand to no more than thirty-five thousand), Jost is probably America’s least-known filmmaker. All the Vermeers, produced partly for “American Playhouse,” should change all that.

All the Vermeers in New York is a romantic, and although melancholy, and invigorating benign work. It may be read in several interesting and compatible ways: as a strange love story, as a dark valentine to the financial and cultural capital that is the metropolis of Manhattan, and/or as a nuance farewell to the soul distortions of the monied eighties. A young actress from France, hoping for a career in New York City is quietly absorbed in a Vermeer painting at the Metropolitan Museum: she is approached by a stock trader absenting himself from the frenzy of Wall Street who instantly and obsessively wants her to come live with him. She has been sharing an apartment with two older women and mildly suffering their eccentricities. He, however, has his own loft. Anna, played by Emmanuelle Chaulet (seen in Claire Denis’s Chocolat), is clever and determined, and begins to negotiate an accommodation with her sensitive suitor. Mortality intervenes – on both a personal level and a cosmic scale – but as sharply photographed by Jost (who also wrote and edited the work), the City gleams on. Rarely has a fiction film been able to so quickly and effectively become a dramatic piece of social history.

— Laurence Kardish

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]