• It’s a visual marvel but its narrative momentum/strength isn’t near what some of his previous films are—as Ebert says, ““it need not make sense, and it is not “too difficult” because it could not have been any less so. It is simply a work of original art, which Greenaway asks us to accept or reject on his own terms”
  • A few angry critics calling it pure arrogance and deriding it for being pompous
  • Heavy nudity- hundreds of people—Greenaway always has nudity and sexuality play a big part of his films and there’s another device here with the attachment to books, like the cook, the thief—an intellectual work—pillow book coming in 1996
  • Apparently the 24 books was based on the famous saying by Jean-Luc Godard that “cinema is truth 24 times a second”.—more cataloguing from Greenaway
  • It’s Gielgud’s show- he’s the narrator and in every scene but we also have a young Mark Rylance show up and the great Erland Josephson
  • Elaborate mise-en-scene and overall film and visual conception
  • NYT “his films are planned from the first frame to the last”- and this is not a glowing review—still admiration there
  • A ridiculously beautiful and elaboration opening credit sequence and tracking shot
  • This is going to sound trite but Greenaway really is a painter with the frame—see pic below- he has characters literally holding a frame like over a moving piece of ark
  • Walks the fine line between heavy expressionism and experimental film (which I don’t touch)
  • It’s a miracle of costume work, architecture (welles, tarkovsky)
  • Large cast and extras
  • Mise-en-scene filled with pages falling (opening of Dunkirk)
  • Slow and steady tracking shots
  • It’s a weak narrative
  • Not a fan of the frame within a frame done through video recording—I like it when the characters are holding a frame—there’s a lot of the former and not much of the latter
  • Greenaway is cataloguing books that are, in themselves, catalogues on various subjects
  • It’s very avant-garde and quite mad
  • Kid opera singer from the cook, the thief—we have dogs running around—you could easily play Greenaway-bingo with all of his traits here
  • It becomes a bit much and there’s nothing to pull you into the experiences except for the visuals and rhythms—but some of the images are seared into my memory they’re so stunning
  • Color shading
  • Clearly influenced 1999’s Titus
  • Celebration of knowledge and art- a moving painting
  • It reminds me of Aleksandr Sokurov’s 2002 Russian Ark
  • Recommend/HR border- just too much to marvel at visually