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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 »

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Details

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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

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

Oliver Deuce: Pregnant women are notoriously unreliable. Especially when they're trying to procure an abortion.
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Connections

Referenced in Der Todesking: The Death King (1990) 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
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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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