THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE & HER LOVER
1989, Park Circus/Miramax, 124 min, Netherlands/UK/France, Dir: Peter Greenaway

Michael Gambon stars as a gangster who gorges himself at the restaurant he owns while his disaffected wife (Helen Mirren) plays gourmet food games in the kitchen with her lover (Alan Howard). This disturbing, visually audacious black comedy is Greenaway's unholiest masterpiece.


PROSPERO’S BOOKS
1991, Park Circus/Miramax, 124 min, UK/Netherlands/France, Dir: Peter Greenaway

This highly imaginative retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest stars John Gielgud, here realizing a lifelong ambition to portray Prospero on screen. A magician in exile, he is eager to exact revenge against his enemies until his daughter (Isabelle Pasco) falls in love with his chief rival’s son (Mark Rylance). With its remarkably innovative use of choreography (to a Michael Nyman score), animation and digitally manipulated imagery, Greenaway’s riff on the classic play is among his most dazzlingly visual films.


THE DRAUGHTSMAN’S CONTRACT
1982, Zeitgeist Films, 108 min, UK, Dir: Peter Greenaway

Director Peter Greenaway’s first arthouse hit was this stylish and beautifully rendered murder mystery set on a rural English country estate in 1694. An artist (Anthony Higgins) is hired to draw landscapes for a wealthy couple; in its meticulous detail, the young man’s art unwittingly captures evidence of foul play. An elegant, multilayered puzzle that goes way beyond a simple “whodunit” to explore class and sexual politics.


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