7.5/10
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A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 25 May 1990 (USA)
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:
...
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
...
Himself - 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

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:

Zoo  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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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

Oswald Deuce: How fast does a woman decompose?
Oliver Deuce: Six months, maybe a year? Depends on the conditions.
Oswald Deuce: Does being pregnant make any difference?
Oliver Deuce: No.
Oswald Deuce: And the baby?
Oliver Deuce: How far gone was she?
Oswald Deuce: Perhaps ten weeks.
Oliver Deuce: Then you'd never know.
Oswald Deuce: [long pause] I cannot stand the idea of her rotting away.
[short pause]
[...]
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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

 
Elegant Tale of Decomposing
7 February 2007 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

I knew how strange and unusual Greenaway could be but Zed, I believe could take the cake :). I am not sure what it is all about but I still enjoy the triumvirate Greenaway - Sasha Verny- Michael Nyman. Some ideas and images Greenaway will use in the later "8 1/2 women" and "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover" - especially, the soundtrack. "Dead Ringers" and "Mon oncle d'Amérique" (two beautiful weirdnesses themselves) also come to mind while watching Greenaway's elegant tale of decomposing which is also his meditations about life, death and grief. As in earlier "The Draughtsman's Contract (1982), Greenaway explores the relationship between the close relatives - the twin brothers are in the center of "A Zed & two Noughts". The movie is also a modern retelling of an ancient myth about Leda and Zeus who took the form of a swan and slept with Leda on the same night as her husband, King Tyndareus. Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta.

Greenaway considers that 90% of his films one way or another refers to paintings. "A Zed & two Noughts" refers openly and with great admiration to the paintings of Johannes Vermeer van Delft.

"A Zed & two Noughts" is not easy film to watch, its characters are not sympathetic, it lacks warmth and sentimentality but as always in Greenaway's films, it is a feast for eyes, ears, and for brain.

7.5/10


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