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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 4,222 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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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:

grief | decay | twin | leg | animal | See All (140) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

25 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zoo  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 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: In the land of the legless the one-legged woman is queen.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 1: The Moab Story (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

An Elephant Never Forgets
Music by 'The Happy Farmer' (Opus 68, No.10) by Robert Schumann
Performed by Lupino Lane with 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

 
Appeals to the brain more than the gut
22 April 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Peter Greenaway is arty. Painfully so. However he readily admits that this film is "self-conscious", "manufactured" and he says that all cinema is probably as "artificial" a form as you can get.

This film is beautiful to look at. Greenaway was inspired, visually, by paintings of the mid 17th century, particularly those of Vermeer. Almost every shot is composed like a painting. Many of the shots are symmetrical, walls are filmed flat so that the horizontal lines are parallel with the top and bottom of the frame. Objects are placed on tables as if subjects for a still life. Lighting is used in an alternation of light, shade,light,shade receding to the back of the picture, which is a signature of the type of 17th century, Western art that Greenaway is paying homage to.

The substance of the film follows weighty themes, all of which are explained in great detail through the director's commentary: evolution, light and twin-ship.

What is lacking is emotion. This is a cerebral film. Your emotional reaction to it will be through the imagery, be it beautiful or repulsive. You will not engage with the characters on an emotional level. You'll find them hard to relate to. The performances are stilted and amateur theatrical. It is fortunate, then, that Michael Nyman provides a fantastic score (present on almost every scene and almost outstaying its welcome) which prevents the dialogue (the script leaves a lot to be desired too) rendering everything flat.

Rent this if you enjoy visuals for their own sake, if you wear spectacles and if you like holding your chin in your hand and frowning. I qualify on all those points, so I enjoyed it a great deal.

Extra points for an extraordinarily thorough director's commentary on the DVD which serves to pull out all the hidden depths. Though one could make the point that an explanation that adds so much extra understanding leaves you feeling that the film failed adequately to convey much of what was intended.

DVD easter eggs (worth seeing): http://www.dvd.net.au/hidden.cgi?movie_id=10484


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