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A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  25 May 1990 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,070 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 34 critic

Oliver Deuce, a successful doctor, is shattered when his wife is killed in a freak car accident involving the car being driven by Alba Bewick colliding with a very large rare bird. His twin... See full summary »

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Title: A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

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Cast

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

Oliver Deuce, a successful doctor, is shattered when his wife is killed in a freak car accident involving the car being driven by Alba Bewick colliding with a very large rare bird. His twin brother Oswald is researching how carcasses decay at the local zoo. Alba survives the accident although she loses one leg, and her sinister physician eventually removes the other 'because it looked so sad all alone'. Oswald and Oliver become involved in a menage a trois with Alba, and uncover very dubious trafficking in zoo property. But ultimately their only goal is to try and understand their mortal condition. Written by Dan Ellis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

decay | grief | twin | animal | leg | See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

25 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Zed & Two Noughts  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

References to Greek Mythology: Alba Bewick is referred to as 'Leda' (in Greek mythology, Leda gave birth to twins Castor & Pollux after being seduced by Zeus in the guise of a swan); in the film, Alba decides to name the twins she gives birth to as 'Castor & Pollydeuces' (in reference to the mythological Gemini twins Castor & Pollux). See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Uot, Zoo! (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

An Elephant Never Forgets
Performed by The BBC Dance Orchestra
Directed by Henry Hall
Courtesy of EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING LTD and EMI RECORDS LTD
See more »

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User Reviews

 
We Cannot Escape Our Nature.
9 September 2009 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

This is not a film I could or would ever see again, but I am not about to criticize it as much as I am going to praise it on a technical and aesthetic level. At the core of the movie is the sad and enormously disconcerting theme of humans using animals to enrich their lives, which are lived in a high-tech, hyperstylized human world in which nature is losing its place. I am not a stickler when it comes to disturbing images. Indeed, Salo and Lake of Fire are favorite films of mine. It is animals whose suffering offends me; they are not consciously cruel and do not betray one another. Even when they are cruel, it is the way of survival in the natural world.

Nonetheless, this richly developed film about decay by Peter Greenaway truly sees and says something profound and disturbing about humanity. It is a purely metaphysical experience. For example, there is a scene where two character talk about the relevance of the film they're watching. We see fascinating elaborate showcases of making films of carcass decay. Even brief establishing shots and any one of the few cutaways Greenaway allows are layered with nuance and mathematical precision.

Purely a sensory approach, Greenaway's struck me as very thematically similar to David Cronenberg's: The focus is on the physiological effects of experience and environment. But where Cronenberg works ambiently inward, Greenaway radiates smolderingly outward, his standard being pale mise-en-scenes with intensely emboldened focal colors. And whereas the dark and ethereal nature of Cronenberg's work is accentuated by Howard Shore's brooding orchestral score, Greenaway betrays the psychosis of his wide, still, panoramic, painterly set-ups with Michael Nyman's infectiously eccentric and complex soundtrack.

I am not good at preparing myself for the human effect on animals, but I admire and appreciate ZOO's audacious and brandishingly external style. It is the sort of work that could be deemed style over substance, and maybe it is to some degree, but it is the style that informs function of the narrative. It is form over function that distinguishes humans from the rest of the animal world, and yet the form here is a smolderingly animalistic one. We cannot escape our nature.


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