A car collides with a swan outside Rotterdam Zoo. Two women passengers die and the driver, Alma, has to have her leg amputated. Obsessed with the accident, the husbands of the dead women – twins at that – embark on a strange affair with Alma…
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"Freaks and rarities" - this film is quite challenging, it's a bit gross but then I feel guilty for thinking that because it is very human in its weirdness, we are all weird and fragile "how much of your body can you lose and still recognise yourself?". The music is a perfect fit for the comedy of it. It seamlessly weaves themes "What do prawns and apples have in common" and I like that. Mortality in the face.
A perfect ensemble for Greenaway's obsession with numbers, alphabetical orders, Renaissance and (early) Baroque painting - in this case especially Vermeer, but you can also find many references to Brueghel (e.g. in the composition of the flower bouquets) as well as visual reflexions on still lifes, birth, death and decay (the vanitas motif). And the film is the second of six cooperations with composer Michael Nyman.
Visually striking, if rather too ascetic thematic exploration of death and decay. As so often with this director everything is suspended in aspic and shut-off inside glass cases, making the film resemble a Victorian Botanist sticking pins through his exhibits, labelling and classifying them and then displaying at arm's length. No heart, but a great eye.
Superb! Covers all of the bases!
Yes, it's a blunt & ironic jab in the eye at social/cultural structure & this fast tarnishing gilded cage - a farce of a commercially driven slave democracy.
Yet says so much more!
14billion yrs ago strange & unfamiliar elements began an arduous sequence of converting events that facilitated our presence on earth today.
We'll never exist in this time, mind or body ever again......
So, what does one get for the film that has everything? A special cinematography award for ravishing natures mortes? A written apology from Cronenberg for ripping it off (and dumbing it down)? A monument in the city of Rijn? How about the pledge to show it as one of my four picks if I am ever chosen as TCM guest programmer...? Come on, Ted, what do you say? For Vermeer's sake if no one else's?