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A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 25 May 1990 (USA)
Identical twins Oliver and Oswald Deuce lose their wives in a car crash caused by a white swan. The brothers, who are zoologists, become obsessed with the death and decay of animals. They ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Eric Deacon ...
...
Venus de Milo
...
Van Hoyten
Jim Davidson ...
Joshua Plate
Agnès Brulet ...
Beta Bewick
Guusje van Tilborgh ...
Caterina Bolnes
Gerard Thoolen ...
Ken Campbell ...
Stephen Pipe
...
Felipe Arc-en-Ciel
...
Fallast
...
Himself - Documentary Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

Identical twins Oliver and Oswald Deuce lose their wives in a car crash caused by a white swan. The brothers, who are zoologists, become obsessed with the death and decay of animals. They both have a relationship with Alba, the driver of the crashed car, who loses first one leg then the other. When Alba dies, the twins film their own death. Written by <P.M.Laws@education.leeds.ac.uk>

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Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

25 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zoo  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Early in the movie, we are shown a front-page newspaper article about the deaths of the protagonists' wives. This front page also contains sidebar articles detailing events from two of director Peter Greenaway's subsequent films, The Belly of an Architect (1987) (the article headlined "Architect Dies") and Drowning by Numbers (1988) (the article headlined "A Hot Bath Heart Attack"). See more »

Quotes

Alba Bewick: Imagine that, the body - in all its delicious detail - fading away leaving a skeleton with iron legs.
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Soundtracks

The Teddy Bear's Picnic
Music by John W. Bratton
Lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy
Performed by The BBC Dance Orchestra
Directed by Henry Hall
Courtesy of EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING LTD and EMI RECORDS LTD
Also sung by Venus De Milo (Frances Barber)
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User Reviews

Symmetries, broken and renewed
29 May 2011 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

All you need to make cinema is a point of view (and of course the view to which it points). Or a frame of reference and the reference which it frames. In Greenaway all these exist together, knowingly, as forms within forms.

A story of twins looking to overcome grief by studying the decay of death is the reference here. Zebras, lizards, swans, we see the empty shells of body decay before the camera. Kept under the scrutiny of our gaze in life, inside cages, they remain under it once dead. At what point do all these symmetries which conjoined together make up the miracle of life stop being the sum of their parts, and by which process; how much of these parts that we understand as the self can be taken out before the self is no longer recognized; and the symmetry once broken, what mystery renews it.

These obscure ruminations are framed against the question of existence, which implies god and pattern. How come that something so systemised, so perfectly designed and evolved from nothing, from amoeba and algea, can come to pass by the whim of chance? Having taken millions of years for creation to unravel its complexity, why does it take a second to destroy it? Which is to ask, at what point does the system, which in hindsight appears ordained and patterned, become random and meaningless.

Various eccentricities are enacted in this process, all pointing to some kind of symbolic nakedness.

When the legless woman gives birth to new life, twins again, the old twins, the blueprint for them, must step aside. The film ends with an poignant thought. Having carefully staged their own death so that the decay that follows may be captured on film, we see how nature intrudes upon this scene and foils the effort.

An atheist himself, Greenaway here gives us a pessimism that cuts deep; no consciousness survives this.


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