Friday, December 11, 2015
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (1990) A Film by Peter Greenaway
"Peter Greenaway, something of an aesthetic chameleon over his long, varied career, goes to further moment-to-moment extremes of planimetric staging and obsessive symmetry than Kubrick ever did, exaggerating the decorative artifice as a material presence in the film. In rigorously choreographed horizontal dolly movements, and with an anamorphic lens splaying the edges of the frame, Greenaway’s camera probes the layers of Albert’s hedonistic den — something of a defective Matryoshka doll that gets increasingly unflattering (a boisterous kitchen, rancid walk-in freezers, and a noirish parking lot) the more it expands from its innermost form (the luxurious dining hall). It’s unmistakably apparent that this is an artificial space even before the source of an angelic opera voice on the soundtrack is revealed as a toddler dishwasher with a freaked-out head of white hair." Continued at In Review Online. This is a piece I wrote months ago but forgot to publish to the site.