The Early Films of Peter Greenaway: Volume 1 DVD
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Directed by Peter Greenaway
Produced in 1973-78
Main Language - ENGLISH
Countries & Regions - British Film
These films made prior to The Draughtsman’s Contract give a welcome base on which to appraise the work of this incessantly inventive filmmaker. Provocative, perverse and sometimes infuriating, the aesthetic of these films is drawn from the realms of the painted image instead of cinema. Greenaway’s early ambitions were ‘to make every film-image as self-sufficient as a painting’. Add to this his desire to make films that foreground the artifice of cinema instead of ignoring it, and that are structured around lists and cataloguing devices and you have the ingredients for a body of work that seeks to extend the range of cinema from its own sometimes hidebound constrictions.
Water Wrackets is brilliantly inventive spoof anthropology. Obviously written by somebody in love with the sound of language, the film shows how persuasive even improbable words can be when allied with images. It is also a homage to the beauty of moving water. H is for House allies the absurdity of the alphabet, ‘wherever else in any epistemological collection can you put happiness, hysterectomy, His Holiness, heaven and hell?’ with a charming home-movie.
Greenaway’s own introductions to the films are illuminating – who would have guessed that Windows, a short film on defenestration, has at its root a comment on apartheid? Intervals is a short film edited to rigorous requirements and replayed with different soundtracks. Filmed in Venice, it does all it can to deny the existence of water. Dear Phone presents a number of stories intercut with images of red telephone boxes and is an extreme example of Greenaway’s contention that most cinema is nothing but filmed text. Here it is literally the case. A Walk Through H is a complex look at cartography based around 92 hand-painted maps that supply the visual content of the film and which guide us through the journey of an ornithologist from this world to the next.
Graeme Hobbs on 21st October 2003
Author of 285 reviews
Features six films - Intervals, Windows, H is for House, Dear Phone, Water Wrackets and A Walk Through H. Greenaway's narrative and visual invention is to the fore in these early films. Subversive, infuriating and entirely original takes on the documentary tradition.
Length: 87 mins
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 20th October 2003
Cat No: BFIVD566
Subtitles: English HoH
- Galleries of artworks and archives
- introductions to films by Greenaway
- hidden features.