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664 Ratings

Prospero's Books

Directed by Peter Greenaway
France, Italy, 1991
Avant-Garde, Fantasy, Drama


The daughter of Prospero, an exiled magician, falls in love with the son of his enemy, while the sorcerer’s sprite, Ariel, convinces him to abandon revenge against the traitors from his earlier life.

Our take

Spurred on by star John Gielgud and brought to life by Peter Greenaway, this is Shakespeare’s The Tempest interpreted as pure avant-garde cinema: an intense, opulent mash-up of different art forms and formal techniques shot through with baroque textures and vibrant colors. Greenaway, take a bow.

Prospero's Books Directed by Peter Greenaway

Critics reviews

Poor John Gielgud tried for years to set up a film version of The Tempest that would record his performance of Prospero; he finally had to settle for director Peter Greenaway. Gone is any sense of drama or character; the cluttered spectacle yields no overriding design but simply disconnected MTV-like conceits or mini-ideas every three seconds.
May 01, 1992
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