Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Handful Of Safe

Peter Greenaway, CBE (born 5 April 1942) is a British film director.

Greenaway was born in Newport, Monmouthshire (his mother is Welsh), but grew up in Southeast England. The family left South Wales when Greenaway was three years old and moved to Essex. At an early age he decided he wanted to be a painter. He developed an interest in European cinema, focusing first on the films of Bergman, and then on Nouvelle Vague film-makers such as Godard, and most especially Resnais.
In 1962 he started studying at the Walthamstow College of Art, where amongst his fellow students was musician Ian Dury (whom Greenaway would later cast in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover). There, Greenaway would spend the next three years training to be a mural painter and making his very first film, Death of Sentiment, an essay of church yard furniture filmed in four large London cemeteries. In 1965 he joined the Central Office of Information (COI), where he remained for the next fifteen years as a film editor and then a director. During this time he began to build a personal filmography of experimental films, starting with 1966's Train, composed of footage of the last steam trains at Waterloo station (directly behind the COI), edited to a musique concrete track. Tree, made in 1966, was a homage to the embattled tree growing in concrete outside the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank in London. In the 1970s Greenaway became more confident and ambitious and made Vertical Features Remake and A Walk Through H. The former is an examination of variations of arithmetical editing structure, and the latter a journey through the various maps of a fictitious country.
A hallmark of many of Greenaway's films is the heavy influence of Renaissance and, in particular, Flemish painting in his scene composition and lighting, with its concomitant contrasts of costume and naturalized nudity, nature and architecture, furniture and person, sexual pleasure and painful death.
Greenaway has often worked with composer Michael Nyman, who has scored a number of Greenaway's films.
In 1980 Greenaway delivered The Falls (his first feature-length film) – a mammoth, fantastical, absurdist encyclopedia of flight-associated material all relating to 92 victims of what is referred to as the Violent Unknown Event (VUE). The 1980s would see some of Greenaway's best known films, The Draughtsman's Contract in 1982, A Zed & Two Noughts in 1985, The Belly of an Architect in 1987, Drowning by Numbers in 1988, and his most successful (in the mainstream) film in 1989, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. He collaborated with the artist Tom Phillips (also in 1989) on a television mini-series called A TV Dante, dramatizing the first few cantos of Dante's Inferno. The 1990s brought the visually spectacular Prospero's Books in 1991, the controversial The Baby of Mâcon in 1993, The Pillow Book in 1996, and 8½ Women in 1999.
In the early 1990s, Greenaway wrote ten opera libretti known as the Death of a Composer series, dealing with the commonalities of the deaths of ten composers from Anton Webern to John Lennon. The other composers, however, are all fictitious, and one is a character in The Falls. Louis Andriessen completed the sixth one, Rosa - A Horse Drama, in 1995.
Greenaway has finished an ambitious film project, The Tulse Luper Suitcases, a multimedia extravaganza featuring innovative film techniques which resulted in 5 films.
He has also contributed to Visions of Europe, a collection of short films from different directors around the European Union. His entry for Britain is called The European Showerbath.
In early 2005 it was announced that he would be making a film about the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. The film, apparently to be released in 2007, is entitled Nightwatching.
On June 17, 2005 Peter Greenaway demonstrated in Amsterdam his first VJ performance during an art club evening. With music by DJ Serge Dodwell (aka Radar) as a backdrop, ‘VJ’ Greenaway used for his set a special system consisting of a large plasma screen with laser controlled touchscreen to project the 92 Tulse Luper "stories" on the 12 screens of Club 11, mixing the images live.

Death of Sentiment (1962)
Tree (1966)
Train (1966)
Revolution (1967)
5 Postcards From Capital Cities (1967)
Intervals (1969)
Erosion (1971)
H Is for House (1973)
Windows (1975)
Water Wrackets (1975)
Water (1975)
Vertical Features Remake (1976)
Goole by Numbers (1976)
Dear Phone (1977)
A Walk Through H: The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist (1978)
Eddie Kid (1978)
Cut Above the Rest (1978)
1-100 (1978)
Zandra Rhodes (1979)
Women Artists (1979)
Leeds Castle (1979)
Lacock Village (1980)
The Falls (1980)
Country Diary (1980)
Terence Conran (1981)
The Draughtsman's Contract (1982)
Four American Composers (1983)
The Coastline (1983)
Making a Splash (1984)
A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)
Inside Rooms: 26 Bathrooms, London & Oxfordshire (1985)
The Belly of an Architect (1987)
Drowning by Numbers (1988)
Fear of Drowning (1988)
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
Hubert Bals Handshake (1989)
Prospero's Books (1991)
Rosa (1992)
The Baby of Mâcon (1993)
Stairs 1 Geneva (1995)
Lumière et compagnie (1996)
The Pillow Book (1996)
The Bridge (1997)
8½ Women (1999)
The Death of a Composer: Rosa, a Horse Drama (1999)
The Man in the Bath (2001)
Cinema16 (2003)
The Tulse Luper Suitcases, The Moab Story (2003)
The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Antwerp (2003)[citation needed]
The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Vaux to the Sea (2004)
The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Sark to the Finish (2005)
A life in Suitcases (2005)
Visions of Europe (fragment "European Showerbath", 2004)
Nightwatching (in production, 2007)

Act of God (1980) [1]
Death in the Seine (French TV, 1988) [2]
A TV Dante (mini-series, 1989) [3]
M Is for Man, Music, Mozart (1991)[4]
A Walk Through Prospero's Library (1992) [5]
Darwin (French TV, 1993) [6]


Post a Comment

<< Home