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1,334 Ratings

The Draughtsman's Contract

Directed by Peter Greenaway
United Kingdom, 1982


An aristocratic wife commissions a young, cocky artist to sketch her husband’s property while he is away, in exchange for room, board, and one sexual favor per drawing. This arrangement soon spirals out of control, and the draughtsman finds him the prime suspect of a murder…

Our take

One of Peter Greenaway’s most purely pleasurable films, The Draughtsman’s Contract is a strange, diabolical, and mischievous twist on the British tradition of period pieces. It’s part sex melodrama, part mystery, fashioned in cheeky wit, scored by Michael Nyman, and shot like a gorgeous painting.

The Draughtsman's Contract Directed by Peter Greenaway

Critics reviews

It stills hums with high wit and delirious pleasure in its fusion of pop-baroque music (Michael Nyman’s score is a head-shaking triumph), lavishly composed imagery, fecund Brit-speak and the farcical yet accurate reinvention of the 17th century.
February 26, 2008
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Artificial in the extreme, it may nevertheless be Greenaway’s most naturalistic and easygoing film.
June 26, 2007
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Peter Greenaway creates an extraordinarily detailed picture of a historical period, not as it was, but as it is imagined by a somewhat surreal artist today.
June 22, 1983
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