5.8/10
3,822
43 user 39 critic

8 ½ Women (1999)

Following the death of a mother, a father and son open up a brothel in their Genevan estate after watching (1963).

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Standing ... Philip Emmenthal
Matthew Delamere ... Storey Emmenthal
Vivian Wu ... Kito
Annie Shizuka Inoh ... Simato (as Shizuka Inoh)
Barbara Sarafian ... Clothilde
Kirina Mano Kirina Mano ... Mio
Toni Collette ... Griselda / Sister Concordia
Amanda Plummer ... Beryl
Natacha Amal Natacha Amal ... Giaconda the Baby Factory
Manna Fujiwara Manna Fujiwara ... Giulietta / Half Woman
Polly Walker ... Palmira
Elizabeth Berrington ... Celeste, Emmenthal Maid
Myriam Muller Myriam Muller ... Marianne, Emmenthal Maid
Don Warrington ... Simon
Claire Johnston ... Amelia, Philip's Wife
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Storyline

After his wife dies, fifty-five-year-old businessman Philip Emmenthal (Sir John Standing), at the prompting of his playboy son Storey (Matthew Delamere), populates his Geneva villa with eight and a half concubines. Three are from Kyoto, Japan, where Storey manages Pachinco palaces. Each has a distinctive personality: a nun, a child bearer, a gambler, a student of Kabuki, a horsewoman with a pet pig, and a maid. Philip throws off his strait-laced and repressed attitudes, immersing himself in pleasure. After about a year, the women begin to assert their own power. Side adventures pre-figure the household's break-up, and the women depart in one way or another, one at at time. Philip's fate is in the hands of Palmira (Polly Walker), his favorite. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If every man is supposed to think of sex once every nine minutes, what on earth does he think of in the other eight? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue and pervasive nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Philip Emmenthal: Then she says: "How do you want to do it? From the front? Or from behind?" And I say: "A little from the front, and a lot from behind." "Do you want to do it in the garden or by the pool? Or do you want me to lie in the grass?" she says. I say: "Yes." "Or do you want me perhaps to stand?" she says. "Yes," I say. "Or do you want me to sit with my heels in the air?" "Yes," I say. "Yes to what?" she says. "Yes to every thing," I say. "Then I will," she says. And she does, just like that. My God!
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Connections

Referenced in Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Sosaku Yoshiwara
(Kabuki music)
Written by Hirokazu Sugiura
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User Reviews

 
Greenaway Laughs!
25 September 2002 | by srepkaSee all my reviews

Actually, Greenaway has nearly always been laughing. It's just that many people fail to notice that. "8 1/2 Women", however, is different in that even the people who hate it (of which there will be plenty; it's Greenaway) will have no doubts that it is a comedy, and Greenaway's lightest-toned film yet.

It is a playful tribute to Fellini and Godard, and it features - prominently - understanding, affection and warmth, none of which are emotions one would have easily associated with Greenaway's previous work. (In an after-screening interview, he commented that age makes one want to look more at the better side of things.) Because this is still very much a Peter Greenaway film, the ways in which emotions such as filial love are going to be explored are going to be very quirky indeed; but to interpret the film's "taboo" scene as intended to shock is a disservice to the film, the director's intentions (and his ability to *truly* shock when he wants to - check "The Baby of Macon") and your own enjoyment.

"8 1/2 Women" is full of odd little moments (and one SPECTACULARLY odd image which I won't spoil much, except to mention that it involves a pig, a Japanese Noh performer and a stunning Swiss villa) and offbeat humour; and it is about male bonding and male delusions about women. I can see how many people have taken the facile route of viewing it as misogynistic; these people have obviously not seen the same film as I have, which is all about control from behind the scenes, strategy, and the presentation of male supremacy for what it is - a fallacy.

"8 1/2 Women" was badly received at Cannes, got a tremendous backlash against it and died a death commercially. All of which is very unfair. If you like eccentric humour, give this film a chance. It's a little Wonderland of sorts and, in its own peculiar way, far more heartwarming than the average plastic Hollywood tear-jerker.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | Netherlands | Luxembourg | Germany

Language:

English | Italian | Japanese | Latin

Release Date:

10 December 1999 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

8 ½ Women See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,000, 29 May 2000

Gross USA:

$424,123

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$437,568
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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