A commissioned project, made for TV in honor the the 200th anniversary of Mozart's death, this is a highly avant-garde piece of music, theater and dance, set to an original score by the ... See full summary »
A commissioned project, made for TV in honor the the 200th anniversary of Mozart's death, this is a highly avant-garde piece of music, theater and dance, set to an original score by the controversial Dutch composer Louis Andriessen (who would later collaborate with Greenaway on the operas "Rosa" and "Writing to Vermeer"). Four nude, powder-white dancers (representing the Gods) appear on a stage designed in the style of an 18th century anatomy theater. A woman sings a list of objects beginning with various letters of the alphabet up to "M"; the Gods then decide to create Man, assembling him from body parts listed as onscreen text. Having created Man, the Gods then give him Movement; so as to give him a reason to move, they create Music; finally, so as to have Perfect Music, they create Mozart. Written by
I'm not familiar with Greenaway's other work; I mostly experienced this for Louis Andriessen's score (I'm a fan, and this isn't his best work, but it does have its moments). As for the film itself, let me say this: I like difficult art, and difficult cinema. I spend many hours justifying the existence of difficult art to others who are not quite so adventurous. I enjoy emotional distance and ambiguous meaning, taken even to Euro-trash extremes. And yet, I found this film to be the worst, most pretentious piece of crap I've ever seen in my life. It is very unattractive visually, and the film has dated very, very poorly in terms of its overall look. (Yes, you can tell this was made for TV...) Greenaway never knows when to get out of the way and let the images just breathe on their own... there is far too much information on screen at all times. If a first run through his completely awful text (which might pass as "edgy prose" in my junior high diary), set to Andriessen's music, wasn't enough for you, don't worry... he'll display the whole thing from start to finish in a slow side-scroll that features such high-tech effects as digitally-generated drop shadow. And his attempts at "choreography" are so banal in spots that you'll want to laugh out loud. Now I absolutely have to see another Greenaway film to see if they're all this bad. As for yourself, don't bother.
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