In the early 1990s Peter Greenaway was a cult figure for cinephiles in Russia. I remember Prospero's Books changing my perception of what cinema can be. It was a treat so visually rich that at first I had a problem to digest it. Then The Cook, the Thief... and The Baby of Mâcon came as an attack I had been prepared for. It was an utterly enjoyable experience though to get emotionally involved was quite difficult. Then there was a decade of various experiments for the director that took him to the places, times, and forms that did not always manage to get me through the lengthy hours of his films.
Goltzius and the Pelican Company has turned out to be a well balanced work. We can enjoy here the major features of the Greenawayness, such as constant visual and audio aggression breaking all taboos, yet matched with equal dose of grace, satire and self-irony. Using the fine art works related to the film themes contributes, as usual, considerable impact to the picture. It makes us feel the legacy of the Western classical tradition integrally interwoven into the film. And apart from the formal aesthetic achievements, which are kind of standard for most of Greenaway's works, in Goltzius and the Pelican Company there is a certain emotional rhythmic structure reaching its top with an amazing Dance of Salome scene.
So I have found it not merely a formal exercise in cinema language as the recent master's films often tend to be, but also an emotionally involving (at least as much as you could expect from a Greenaway) coherent story.
Still I think it may not work for an audience completely unacquainted with the author's works, so I recommend to watch a trailer before buying a ticket.
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