Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

Today, we had the chance to watch the film, 'The Cook, the Thief, his Wife & her Lover' (yes, a mouthful :)) by the Dir. Peter Greenway from 1989. At first, I was a bit uncertain what I would think of this film, as we were advised it contained scenes of cannibalism, but like every film that Tutor Phil shows,It was really interesting approach of good cinema.

"Master director Greenaway outdoes himself with this grisly fairy tale. The thief, Albert Spica, (Gambon) is a gangster, repugnant and boorish, who holds court at the same table in his opulent restaurant every night surrounded by his lackeys (Tim Roth and the late Ian Dury included). When his cultured and repressed wife Georgina (Mirren) becomes magnetically attracted to a solitary diner in the restaurant, the two begin a secret affair under the nose of her dangerous husband. With the help of the restaurant's chef, the time the lovers share is kept secret from the vicious Albert...for a while. Despite the breathtaking production design and artful camera work, this violent, disturbing and very darkly comic work is not for everyone. Those with the stomach for it, however, will reap generous rewards"

source: http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/cook_the_thief_his_wife_and_her_lover/#

This film was really different from all the others we watched as it was full of theatrical references, from the lights to the set, the way the set was made depicting this stylized world inside a restaurant where everything looked like out of a fairytale, the use of different light colours in different rooms set the mood in all the film, the amazing camera work with beautiful horizontal shots all the way from the kitchen to the dining room, where the camera didn't follow the action but, the spectator had to do it and not forgetting the beautiful set design where everything was so detailed, so exuberant reminding something out of France of Louis XV.

P.s.- Sry for the Italian translation

The plot, besides being about a subject quite common in society, the cheating with a lover, It add twist of exuberance, everything that was beautifully stylized emphasized the story.
The costume designs by Jean Paul Gaultier are just beautiful playing a really important part in the film, specially in the Revenge scene where the wife's dress resembles to a spider, who traps the husband into her revenge.
The music makes us think we were in a theatre instead of a cinema, it was really well composed to the film, giving that extra sense of theatrical.
The painting on the wall decorating the dining room, seemed to be of the French revolution era, painting of Eugene Delacroix 'Liberty Leading the People', where is a woman among all men holding a french flag in sign of freedom, quite similar with the painting in this film, where the woman looks imprisoned in the middle of men but ready to make a breakthrough.
The breakthrough happens in the end when the gang leader kills the wife's the lover, when she finds it, her revenge is something taken from a Shakespeare novel, she makes him eat the lover's corpse cooked.

Really interesting to watch, though if you have a weak stomach maybe is not advised.

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