Posted in: 2000 Eyes, by Bruce Reid, Film Reviews

2000 Eyes: 8 1/2 Women

[Written for The Stranger]

All of Peter Greenaway’s films depend less on human emotion than they do on a particularly fierce adherence to preordained patterns. Because of this insistence, they are curiously immune to criticism. Call them callous, misanthropic, inhuman (all of which they certainly are), whatever you like; for the Greenaway fan, such objections have simply missed the point. Depending on your belief — is art about people, or simply a way of ordering an incoherent universe? — he is either a fraud or one of the greatest filmmakers currently working. 8 1/2 Women, his latest film, is no exception. For his fans, it may well be the finest thing he’s done; the rest of us will find it as grotesque and unwatchable as the rest of the director’s output.

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Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Reviews

Review: Eisenstein in Guanajuato

Elmer Bäck as Sergei Eisenstein

Fictional maps, invented histories, and baffling bird-related mayhem marked the early, experimental work of Welsh-born mischief-maker Peter Greenaway. The Falls, for instance, is a peculiar kind of movie masterpiece: a three-hour illustrated inquiry into a series of unfortunate events, all regarding our feathered friends. It’s like an avant-garde answer to Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Then, curiously, Greenaway became popular. In the ’80s, movies such as The Draughtsman’s Contract and the outrageous The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover made Greenaway a brand name on the international arthouse circuit. As though scornful of this popularity, Greenaway has been stubbornly non-commercial for the past two decades.

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