The Sunday Intertitle: The Greenaway Way

(More of a subtitle, really, from 26 BATHROOMS.)

Peter Greenaway stared at the multiplex with his perpetual air of being offended by a smell. “Of course, in ten years, this will all be gone,” he mused.

The above scene, described to me four or five years ago by a member of staff from Edinburgh Film Festival, hints that perhaps Greenaway is not the world’s greatest prophet, although only time will tell. I guess only time will tell if he’s going to kill himself at aged 80, like Ruth Gordon in HAROLD AND MAUDE, as he promised to do in the Guardian this week. But the quote that really excited my interest comes from his piece in Saturday’s Independent, talking about his new film, NIGHTWATCHING, which deals with Rembrandt’s painting The Night Watch.

“In the film we very deliberately skirted the trap of showing Rembrandt paint the masterpiece; no one would believe us – any possible suspension of disbelief would entirely collapse. Martin Freeman was not bad at handling a brush with some conviction, but nobody would ever believe he could paint a Rembrandt.”

What throws me for a loop here is the suggestion that Greenaway is remotely interested in suspending our disbelief, something that never even occurred to me before. It seems flatly contradicted by his statements that “the only thing we never believe in films is sex and death” and that sex and death are the only subjects worth talking about in films. I remember being impressed by his statement that he generally avoided camera movement because it increased audience involvement, and thinking that I would bloody well move the camera in order to involve the audience. The reality is a bit more complex than Greenaway’s statement, but then it always is. “He’s a man of bold, spurious statements,” my friend at the Film Fest said.

I don’t have much time for the man, I must admit, though I wouldn’t go so far as Mr. Alan Parker, who once threatened (or offered?) to take his children to be educated in America if Peter Greenaway made another film here. Those two chumps deserve each other.

(I can, in fact, see a case for both filmmakers, but I’m equally out of sympathy with both also. Greenaway started his feature career with a genuinely unusual work, THE DRAUGHTSMAN’S CONTRACT, unlike anything else in British cinema and made on a near-shoestring. Unfortunately, he has followed it with more of the same, until the eye aches at the repetition. A similar repetition mars Parker’s altogether different cinema. The Greenaway I like best is the above-illustrated 26 BATHROOMS, a little documentary on an alphabetical theme. Because each bathroom corresponds to a letter, it’s very easy to tell how far along we are in the film, which is only half an hour long anyway. Also, filming in confined spaces prevents Greenaway from making every shot flat and symmetrical, and using real people speaking their own words rather than actors speaking Greenaways results in a welcome change from the glib marionettes he usually dangles before us.)

The one Greenaway film I’d like to see doesn’t exist. It was suggested by Greenaway’s evocation the TV show CSI to describe his forensic approach to Rembrandt’s work. His admiration for the series put me in mind of JG Ballard, who likewise expressed his pleasure at the show’s complete lack of human emotion, which echoed that of many of his own novels. Greenaway filming a Ballardian apocalypse might be quite nice, and his interest in digital technology, expressed back when Roland Emmerich was still blowing up dollhouses with firecrackers, would stand him in good stead filming the likes of The Crystal World.

Although THE MONOLITH MONSTERS is already a pretty good version of that, with its B-movie cast and Z-movie dialogue providing a more tolerable version of Greenaway’s arch alienation.

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44 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: The Greenaway Way”

  1. How many years before Greenaway is gone?

    Can’t wait.

  2. Peter Greenaway, like Werner Herzog, is a film-maker of stunts and as such a shameless self-promoter. While talented, I’ve never felt either of them had anything to say, a personal vision to communicate. Still he’s preferable to Alan Parker. When Alfred Hitchcock talked of “pictures of people talking” he had no idea what Greenaway would do with that concept. I like ”Prospero’s Books” best because one can simply turn off the monitor and listen to Gielgud’s narration and enjoy the film. Where Orson Welles’ radio broadcasts had soundtracks that outstripped those of most features, Greenaway is really the other end of things. Hope that isn’t phillistine.

    Gielgud longed to do ”The Tempest” and variously pitched it to Resnais, Bergman and Wajda so this is as close as he ever got. But I’d give anything for Powell’s Tempest with James Mason. That said I think Jarman’s film is a terrific movie.

  3. Gielgud wrote of the Powell project, “Needless to say I was very glad that never came to pass.” Of course, it’s not “needless to say” and I’d love to know what he had against Powell. Maybe he was just glad because it would prevented him doing it.

    I couldn’t get with Prospero at all. The HD effects looked like something from The Kenny Everett Video Show (and I apologise for the obscurity of that reference) and the play was swamped beneath the lugubrious music of Gielgud’s voice.

    My favourite Greenaways are the ones where his detachment starts to break up: Brian Dennehy punches a man-sized hole in Belly of an Architect and Greenaway’s authentic anger at Thatcherite philistinism comes to life in Gambon’s inspired perf in The Cook the Thief, so you get a little bit of drama. He’s been pretty careful to smother that ever since.

    Jarman announced to his cast and crew, “Michael Powell should be making this movie,” which was very gracious of him, but Jarman was always gracious. I once saw him give a talk and Alan Parker was mentioned. “I quite like some of his films,” said DJ, “but whenever we’ve met he’s always been very rude.”

    My hero Ken Campbell makes a splendidly clownish Gonzalo in Jarman’s film.

  4. I don’t know maybe Powell rubbed him the wrong way. Gielgud of course is involved iny for two great Shakespearean cinematic moments, his amazing performance as Henry IV in Chimes at Midnight and his appeareance on stage as Hamlet as seen in Jennings’ A Diary for Timothy(one of the greatest pieces in film history). So maybe he felt that it would have hurt him terribly to see James Mason steal his thunder. Although Mason would have fit Prospero to a T, maybe more than Gielgud because Mason was really the rare great English actor who made a name on screen more than on stage and he’s the ideal cinematic Prospero.

  5. Mason could have been incredible, I agree. An actor of real power and the suggestion of magic was there.

    Gielgud was of course superb but only really versatile on the stage — his very specific manner and appearance typecast him as dry sticks in the movies. His Henry IV is the driest of them all, and terribly effective for it.

  6. You hate America enough to want to see Alan Parker settle here? Now that’s mean. I admit you might want to get even for Alexander Mackendrick leaving, but Alan Parker? He and Greenaway are your problem and please, please keep them.

    Seriously, when I saw The Draughtsman’s Contract, I found it…interesting. I wasn’t sure I liked it, but it struck me as different (in the ’80s, different counted for a lot, American cinema being so homogenized then). Later films just made me want to watch some crude entertainment instead, Gielgud couldn’t even keep me interested in Prospero’s Books. Can’t say I’ve seen any Greenaway for nearly 20 years, and never saw 26 Bathrooms. As for Parker, I was ready to walk out on Fame, unfortunately I was with a date who wanted to stay. Only one of two times I cursed under my breath at a theater. I was lucky enough to miss his Turkish prison porn, Midnight Express, though not the interminable bad jokes about it. I found The Replacements cute, but it didn’t tell me anything about the UK’s passion for American R&B that I didn’t already know.

  7. david wingrove Says:

    Why are people so rude about poor old Peter Greenaway? OK, I do realise he’s made such unwatchable wankfests as DROWNING BY NUMBERS and THE PILLOW BOOK – but he’s also made THE COOK, THE THIEF HIS WIFE AND HER LOVER (probably the best film about Thatcher’s Britain, along with Terry Gilliam’s BRAZIL) and the out-and-out masterpiece that is A ZED AND TWO NOUGHTS.

    If only he were French or Russian or South American, we might be better able to forgive Greenaway his follies and focus on his great work. Don’t we do precisely that for Philippe Garrel or Andrei Tarkovsky or Raul Ruiz, all of whom have made films that their admirers might be better off not seeing?

    Alas, it seems that English-language film-makers simply aren’t allowed to mess up in that way…so you wind up with more and more cinema along the lines of his arch-nemesis Alan Parker, efficient but largely devoid of interest. (That being said, ANGEL HEART is a genuinely horror film, THE ROAD TO WELLVILLE is a vastly underrated comic satire and EVITA a sinfully indulgent kitsch-fest for those who feel the need for one.)

    In fact, it strikes me that Parker and Greenaway have rather a lot in common. Each is a proficient but soulless manufacturer of images, with only the most rudimentary knowledge of (or interest) in the people who inhabit his films. A bit like Steven Spielberg for grown-ups.

  8. You mean The Commitments? Or is that a joke at the film’s substitution of white Irish guys for black American ones?

    Greenaway, if he keeps his word, will pop his clogs on April 6th, 2022. Mark your calendars!

    I think maybe Parker did takes his kids to the US, since I believe his son now lives in NYC. Have heard tell he’s a chip off the old blockhead.

    Parker was put in charge of the BFI, an organisation he’d campagned against for decades, and he promptly shut down all it’s film production work. Then the Film Council went mainstream, and as a result talented people like Patrick Keiller really struggle to make films.

    Parker’s problem with Jarman had a homophobic tinge but was mainly anti-intellectualism, a terror of elitism, and a certain bolshy working class dislike of people with posh voices.

  9. Where does that leave a genuine working class film-maker like Terence Davies who is also a man of great culture. Besides I doubt someone who yokes ”Stormy Weather” into ”The Tempest” can be called an elitist in the conventional sense.

    How in heaven’s name did Parker became head of BFI if he hated it so much?

    I don’t see what Greenaway has to do with the likes of Tarkovsky and Garrel, they are film-makers for whom cinema has to be experienced and lived rather than seen, the same is true of Cassavetes, they certainly aren’t mannerist oddballs.

  10. And personally speaking, Steven Spielberg knows and understand cinema, the functioning of one moving image agaisnt another better than Greenaway ever did.

  11. David Hockney sat next to me at the press screening of Prospero’s Books, and after ten exasperated minutes stomped out.

  12. Thanks for at least attempting a defence of Greenaway, david wingrove (you even chose the three Parker films I find barely tolerable!)

    I think we’re in a “you get the culture you deserve discussion” here. I wouldn’t worry about directing righteous indigation at Greenaway for ‘terrible films’ or apparently acting pompously at gala events you saw him at as if every other film person is a saint – that line of argument is almost completely irrelevant anyway. The best filmmakers can be absolute arses, the worst filmmakers can shockingly be really nice people. I’m sure Michael Bay is absolutely ‘wonderful’ in person – even if he’s not, he can’t direct for toffee. Speilberg too. (The same with actors – Sandra Bullock may be absolutely lovely as a person. It doesn’t mean that The Blind Side wasn’t a long service medal rather than for actually giving an interesting perfomance. But we accept her bland mediocre covering and re-covering of the same ground with apparent alacrity)

    Greenaway is long gone from any form of critical discussion or distribution anyway – you don’t need to wish him dead or intentionally miss the humour in his comments. Instead we have Greenaway’s wealthy back Kees Kasander producing Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank instead (and receiving this years BAFTA for it). Again, you get the mediocre unambitious culture you wish for.

  13. Jean-Luc Godard is a complete and total asshole. On the other hand he is also Jean-Luc Godard.

    Peter Greenaway, by constrast . . .is Peter Greenaway.

  14. Agreed! But if we were only allowed to like films by ‘likeable’ directors, I don’t think there would be many left!

    Another example: I quite like David Lynch’s films, but find his transcendental meditation stuff absolutely ridiculous, and his politics dubious. I can enjoy the films without having to subscribe to every element of the filmmaker’s private and public worldview. And I wouldn’t base an argument about the worth of his films solely on the fact that I think he may be an unlikeable nutbag in ‘real life’ (or his stage managed public performances of his persona).

  15. For me, a film-maker’s personal quality isn’t related to his “niceness” or “likability” or lack thereof. I’d love to meet John Ford even if he’d be likely to insult me or make fun of my worship for his films or otherwise needle me. Same with Godard and Fassbinder.

    For me, the only thing to like or appreciate about Greenaway is his persistence and relative prolificacy and his ambition. The actual works and aesthetic that he’s involved in is boring and mannerist. Nothing to be compared with say, Resnais’ essay-documentary shorts. Those were films that are reflections on art, history, aesthetic, language, structures, politics, society and it’s never boring and always interesting. But mainly they are terrific movies, great works of cinema. When Marker’s prose defines culture as a botany of death, in Les statues meurent aussi, it has greater meaning, depth and poetry than any of Greenaway’s preening. As for his insistence that cinema should be mixing text and image, well I suppose Jean-Marie Straub and Danielle Huillet were just twiddling their thumbs, they also made terrific movies. And as for his museum movies, Sokurov did that with Russian Ark.

  16. Yeah, too early in the morning, excuse the Alex Chilton brainfart.

  17. Whew! Off to see Shutter Island in a minute, which should clear my head.

    I don’t think Greenaway’s tendency to make ridiculous pronouncements lessens his filmmaking, but I do like to call a ridiculous p. a ridiculous p. And I agree with Arthur that the filmmaking isn’t half as interesting as PG would have us think. It’s ambitious compared to most of the rest of British cinema, but in terms of his own output, not ambitious at all, since he proved he could do symmetrical shots two decades ago…

  18. Shutter Island WON’T clear your head!

  19. Well, due to a technical error on my part of turning up at the wrong cinema at the wrong time, I won’t find that out tonight. This Land is Mine! beckons.

  20. All the anti-Greenaway comments are rather tiresome, and so I commend David Wingrove and colinr for at least proffering some merit in an otherwise closed-book debate (business as usual).

    All I’ll agree with is that Greenaway has made some ridiculous comments and factual errors. For example, I watched an hour long lecture he gave at an art school in Russia a few years ago – and to this day, he still makes the claim that the “death of cinema” came about on the 31st September 1983. I would like to point out to the man that that day never existed.

  21. Well it exists in his head, and (just as with Hollis Frampton) that’s all that matters.

  22. I’d forgotten about the Parker/BFI mess, even though I’d read about it at the time. As far as Greenaway, I can’t say anything against whatever he might have uttered, since I never listened to him or read an interview. Most of his films haven’t interested me is about all I can say. I’ve read enough stupid quotes from other filmmakers (no offense to any filmmakers stationed here intended) to not pay too much attention to what they might say. I remember watching rock stars on talk shows and it strikes me much the same way, except even more pretentious. The old saw “trust the art, not the artist” is more in my way of thinking.

  23. > such unwatchable wankfests
    > as DROWNING BY NUMBERS

    I rather liked it, the last time that I saw it. The element of the ridiculous is always there, of course, but … the film worked for me in a TROUBLE WITH HARRY sort of way. Because of the gorgeous Mozart on the soundtrack? Because of Plawright and Stevenson and Richardson? “Quien sabe, as the Spanish say” — a quote a Coward-ism.

    P.S. IMDb attributes the music to “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as Mozart).” WAM’s days as Tommy Trinder came much, much later.

  24. 1) I actually suspect Greenaway knows that “30 days hath September” and the deliberate mistake is proof he’s not in earnest. Or do I give him too much credit?

    2) Trinder and Mozart = two cheekie chappies.

    3) Parker was put in charge of the BFI obviously because New Labour wanted to decimate it.

    4) Michael Bay, by most accounts, not that nice at all.

    5) Few filmmakers are as inarticulate as rock stars can be, but there are exceptions to both cases. As Renoir said of actors, “There are undoubtedly many intelligent actors, but it is not certain they act with their intelligence.” Likewise, some great filmmakers are not brilliantly intelligent, but it doesn’t seem to inhibit their use of the medium. I’d say Leone was only moderately smart, but what a filmmaking mind.

    6) Sometimes knowing stuff about filmmakers’ lives can alter your view of their work… this isn’t necessarily bad. My sister-in-law likes to imagine Frank Capra as resembling Clarence the angel. I see him as a tough guy. I think it adds a layer to his work, subtracting maybe from the sincerity of his sentiment but adding something else.

    7) It’s good Greenaway has his defenders, it would be boring if we all agreed. But I don’t think the critical comments have been entirely unnuanced.

  25. Some rock stars are articulate, but spout incredible BS. I’ve read interviews with directors who did the same, but I grant they are more intelligent on the whole.

  26. If not more intelligent, at least more articulate. Although Coppola rather flounders in the use of language. Altman did too — they project an air of knowing what they’re talking about, and deep down they probably do, but what comes out of their mouths is often garbled. Spielberg is the king of it. You sort of know what he means, usually, but what he says is just mince.

  27. david wingrove Says:

    How fascinating that Greenaway dates the ‘death of cinema’ from 1983 – the year THE DRAUGHTSMAN’S CONTRACT became his breakthrough international hit! A possible causal connection there? Or a (wholly out of character) attempt at self-irony?

  28. This complete missing the point on Greenaway actually does have some merit as it caused me to consider how much better Precious Based on the Pamplet by Sapphire’s Push would have been as a ‘pretentious wankfest’ with ‘glib marionettes’. It even has the potential for brutally disgusting violent abuse and rape scenes, along with a well meaning but blundering counsellor! It would certainly be more interesting than the cliched characters that the eventual film dangles in front of us, which has its own pretentious cliches and glib marionette archetypal characters, but ones which are tailored to tug on audience’s heartstrings in a more satisfying (dare I say awards baiting?) manner.

    I much prefer ironic detachment as a way of letting me bring my own feelings to a work without having them dictated at every point by the filmmaker (or at least not so heavy handedly dictated), and still find it amazing that this ironic detachment (see Lars von Trier for more) is so often misinterpreted as a lack of empathy or feeling for their characters, as certain critics (intentionally?) miss the deeper feeling and emotion and then blame the filmmaker for an apparent ‘coldness’.

    But then we live in over emotionalist times where if you don’t have the subtext screamed hysterically at you every five minutes you run the risk of audiences missing the fundamental point of the work. Best just to make pretty pictures than an audience can interpret however they wish (see Sokurov, though The Sun is actually a surprisingly powerful film), than anything prioritisng the intricate or intellectual over the cheap (or even expensive) thrill.

    And give me Drowning By Numbers over the atrocious Trouble with Harry any day! :)

  29. Ehrenstein, It’s nice to see you reserving your bile for the directors who really deserve it and defending those of character, like Polanski.

    Peter Greenaway at least had the good sense to realize I don’t give a shit who he’s fucking and that my idea of great cinema isn’t watching her dance, so for that insight alone I’ll take him over a hundred Godards.

  30. david wingrove Says:

    At least I’m always curious to see Peter Greenaway’s films – even when they’re bloody awful. But as for watching PRECIOUS? To quote Bette Midler…

    “Honey, no studio on earth has that much money.”

  31. Bruce, I think David E genuinely doesn’t like Greenaway’s films, so dragging in Polanski’s private life isn’t that germane. I’ve long thought that Emmanuelle Seigneur was sensational in Bitter Moon, and her appalling dance is perfectly in character.

  32. “his statement that he generally avoided camera movement because it increased audience involvement”

    Greenaway’s public utterances are not to be trusted. The statement that he generally avoids camera movement is ridiculous in light of the beautiful camera movements – especially lateral tracks – that he employs in THE COOK THE THIEF…, PROSPERO’S BOOKS, DARWIN, and THE BABY OF MACON. (In THE COOK THE THIEF, the lateral tracks between different colored rooms seem like a direct lift from Corman’s MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH.)

    I have seen the REMBRANDT film, and it is probably Greenaway’s most *accessible* movie since BELLY OF AN ARCHITECT. Personally, I prefer the arty “wankfests.”

  33. I think that statement was made before the films you cite. Of course, there are ways of moving the camera without increasing involvement, and there are even ways to move it that will actually decrease involvement. I do like the camera moves in Cook, especially when we go through walls and the people pass through the doorways and emerge in different costumes.

  34. Many directors who are criticized for being “cold” and “detached” (Preminger, Kubrick, the Resnais of Marienbad) love to move the camera.

  35. Yes, and Greenaway is a big Marienbad fan, who worked with its brilliant cinematographer, Sacha Vierney, for years, so it’s odd that he didn’t pick up on that, apparently.

    But I think you can suck the audience in with camera movement while maintaining an emotional coldness, the two can come together somehow.

  36. I watched Korda’s REMBRANDT shortly after watching Greenaway’s NIGHTWATCHING and was surprised at how similar they were. They follow more or less the same narrative arc, but the Greenaway adds Rembrandtesque color, characters talking directly to the camera, considerably more sexual explicitness, and Greenaway’s conspiracy theory regarding the genesis of the Night Watch painting. Greenaway’s version is better acted, too, with the possible exception of Laughton (though Freeman is an excellent and younger-seeming Rembrandt).

    What you say about camera movement is true – it can be cold and hypnotically involving at the same time. Given Greenaway’s admiration of Marienbad and his use of the same cameraman, I wonder why it took him as long as it did to start emulating Marienbad’s tracking shots.

  37. Fear of loss of control? There’s an extreme stylistic conservatism to the way Greenaway has stuck to the same style so much, although the style itself is somewhat radical. I suspect he was anxious about losing his identity if he departed from it. The producers of Belly of an Architect reported that he was quite alarmed by Brian Dennehy’s gutsy performance, which seemed to break through all the alienation and reach out to the audience in a way Greenaway had always managed to avoid.

    So I think he may have similarly felt that if he tried tracking shots maybe he’d dissolve the barriers he’d carefully erected between himself and the audience. It’s perhaps significant that The Cook The Thief is an especially emotional film by his standards, and also that he throws in the costume changes to make the camera moves more stylised.

  38. David Thomson in his Biographical Dictionary of Film entry on Greenaway describes these movements as being like ‘a rat in a skirting board’ skittishly observing the characters.

    The Cook The Thief is no more especially emotional than A Zed and Two Noughts (the surviving sister wanting symmetry) or the matriarchs in Drowning By Numbers (which might make a good double bill with 3 Women). What The Cook, The Thief has is deep anger at divisions of class and culture, both ‘dumbing down’ and sullying of great art by the ignorant on the one hand (later picked up on in The Belly of an Architect) as well as the use, or fetishisation, of great art only for advertiisng purposes (a theme from The Draughtsman’s Contract and Zed and Two Noughts through to Nightwatching).

    And on the other hand it is about the cutting off of culture from the public because it can only be understood by the elite few, though in the Thatcherite world of The Cook, The Thief it is not the hereditary elites holding culture for themselves but the even more ignorant (because they were originally part of the masses and have ‘worked their way to the top’ without the benefit of a classical education and respect for or interest in art) nouveaux riche capitalists, who manage to dirty everything around them, either by wrecking it, being disrespectful to it or just ruining beauty by association.

    The film is just as relevant to ‘New’ Labour as it was to Thatcher because little changed. Think Katie Price/Jordan or Jade Goody. Or, more pertinently, the extremely rich but incredibly tasteless gaudy style of the Beckhams – just the pinnacle of all the nouveaux riche, but deeply ignorant, footballing upper class.

    The discussion on the other thread about the use of comic actors in small dramatic roles is interesting to apply to Greenaway too. For instance in addition to using the great David Attenborough’s discussions of evolution in his natural history programmes in A Zed and Two Noughts, Greenaway also includes the very unpolitically correct comedian Jim Davidson as one of the zoo keepers. I think it is both a fun comment on the squashing together of ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, but also that the cultured elites seem to have aloofly cut themselves off from the ‘real world’ and only interact with it through a medium, while it is left to the ‘lower classes’ to actually provide the real world application of their teachings to, for example, visitors to the zoo. It is a top down imposed world – the world as a zoo.

    And in The Cook, The Thief there are a number of well known comedic faces in the cast. Of course this runs all the way up to Martin Freeman in Nightwatching. There’s always been a comical, ironic streak to Greenaway’s films even in the casting itself.

  39. I find it difficult to agree with the camera always being static in Greenaway. He likes tableaux and beautiful compositions it is true but if you look at his short films you have something like the beautiful pans of A Walk Through H or the frenetic documentary-style camerawork of The Falls contrasted with the incredibly structuralist (more so than in the films even) Vertical Features Remake.

    And perhaps he didn’t need to just slavishly copy Last Year At Marienbad, instead do his own thing? For instance in the commentary for Zed and Two Noughts (which I assume few here have listened to), Greenaway mentions his admiration for Sacha Vierney’s work but particularly the fantasy/reality melding Belle de Jour. He also mentions that they specifically worked on Zed and Two Noughts to light every single scene in a different manner (all natural light, all fluorescents, all red light, different times of the day, etc), something which I don’t think Vierney would have ever had the chance to do if he was not working with Greenaway.

  40. Great appreciation! Actually Belly of an Architect predates The Cook, and may have been the moment when Greenaway became interested in allowing performance to have more impact — he couldn’t stop Dennehy having a degree of impact that had been avoided in his first couple of films.

    Somehow it’s hard for me to understand a man horrified by modern vulgarity and ugliness voluntarily working with Jim Davidson, but there it is.

  41. Since Last Year At Marienbad has been brought up here, although in regard to Vierney, I was wondering what everyone thought of the films Alain Robbe-Grillet made as a director? I’ve not had a chance to see any of them yet, but have just ordered a copy of La Belle Captive.

  42. Both Trans-Europe Express and Eden and After have been uploaded onto google video with English subtitles:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4276930021793732862

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9010322288336730998

  43. Robbe-Grillet is pretty interesting, though he does incline towards the arty porn genre at times. And arty sado-porn at that. I’m not entirely sure how one defends some of his imagery, but it’s often very beautiful imagery. Have been meaning to write something about him, but this moral perplexity has me hesitating.

  44. Thanks Bruce – I’ll check them out

    I’ve defended my share of suspect arty sado-porn in my time (cf. Greenaway!) I guess if I can get through the Angel Guts series I don’t see any trouble with trying out Robbe-Grillet!

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