Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Prospero's Books (United Kingdom, 1991)




Nine Things About the Movie Prospero's Books


1. There is no director on Earth like Peter Greenaway. Combining the cinematic and theatrical in difficult ways, he literally makes moving artwork. There's not much of a middle ground with him - people either adore him or hate him. I'm in the first group.

2. Prospero’s Books is his version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest


3. If you don't know the plot of  The Tempest, it’s about a wizard named Prospero that creates a terrible storm to get revenge on his duplicitous brother, as well as find a husband for his daughter. 

4. If you haven’t read this play, the movie will be quite a lot to take in. You will have to both decipher the play and Greenaway’s breakaway interpretation of it. This is not an easy job.

5. One of the liberties Greenaway takes with Shakespeare's play is to interrupt the story with descriptions of 22 whimsical books in Prospero’s library (that's where the title comes from).

6. As a way to imitate Renaissance paintings of mythology, the movie has a lot of nudity, both male and female. It's not done in a sexual way, they're just naked.

7. The character of Ariel is played by four actors, each of which represents a classical element. The youngest actor, a little boy, spends most of his time urinating.


8. This was one of the first movies to really use a lot of digital image manipulation.

9. This movie spins a mesmerizing tale of stories inside of stories and pictures inside of pictures. Part movie, part play, part ballet, part animation, this is an unforgettable adaptation of one of The Bard’s most famous plays.