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A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 25 May 1990 (USA)
Twin zoologists lose their wives in a car accident and become obsessed with decomposing animals.

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Andréa Ferréol ... Alba Bewick
Brian Deacon ... Oswald Deuce
Eric Deacon Eric Deacon ... Oliver Deuce
Frances Barber ... Venus de Milo
Joss Ackland ... Van Hoyten
Jim Davidson Jim Davidson ... Joshua Plate
Agnès Brulet Agnès Brulet ... Beta Bewick
Guusje van Tilborgh Guusje van Tilborgh ... Caterina Bolnes
Gerard Thoolen ... Van Meegeren
Ken Campbell Ken Campbell ... Stephen Pipe
Wolf Kahler ... Felipe Arc-en-Ciel
Geoffrey Palmer ... Fallast
David Attenborough ... Himself - Documentary Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

Identical twins Oliver and Oswald Deuce lose their wives in a car crash caused by a white swan. The brothers, who are zoologists, become obsessed with the death and decay of animals. They both have a relationship with Alba, the driver of the crashed car, who loses first one leg then the other. When Alba dies, the twins film their own death. Written by <P.M.Laws@education.leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Netherlands

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

25 May 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zoo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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: I am about to become a mother, and you are about to become a father... or fathers.
Oswald Deuce: You what?
Oliver Deuce: You are?
Alba Bewick: I am.
Oswald Deuce: Good lord.
Oliver Deuce: You can?
Alba Bewick: Of course! Is leglessness a form of contraception?
Oswald Deuce: I'm not sure.
Alba Bewick: You're not sure!
Oswald Deuce: I'm delighted!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Drowning by Numbers (1988) See more »

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)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Appeals to the brain more than the gut
22 April 2005 | by bodnotbodSee 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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