Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom/The Netherlands, 1985. British Film Institute, Allarts Enterprises, Artificial Eye, Film Four International, Vrijzinnig Protestantse Radio Omroep. Screenplay by Peter Greenaway. Cinematography by Sacha Vierny. Produced by Kees Kasander, Peter Sainsbury. Music by Michael Nyman. Production Design by Ben Van Os, Jan Roelfs. Costume Design by Patricia Lim, Dien van Straalen. Film Editing by John Wilson.
A swan crashes into a car and kills two of its three passengers, while the third survives but loses a leg. The dead womens’ husbands become obsessed with investigating death, freeing animals from the zoo and killing some of them, then photographing their dead carcasses. They also take up with the surviving passenger and become her lovers simultaneously while she struggles to fight off the manipulation of a surgeon obsessed with getting her to cut off the other leg. Peter Greenaway’s oddball feature is hopelessly artistic but, in its own crazy way, makes a lot of sense and is deliciously funny. The performances are fantastic, particularly a sensational Andréa Ferréol as the limb-challenged woman whose passions never abate whatever the circumstances, and Greenaway’s stimulating visual style (paired up with Michael Nyman’s gorgeous musical score) make it a pleasure for the senses if nothing else.