Thursday, March 25, 2010

Greenaway: Avatar of "Avatar"

Very interesting interview on the BBC with Peter Greenaway, available here for download for about the next week or so.

I had largely forgotten my earlier adoration of Greenaway. "The Falls" , "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover," and, especially, "Drowning by Numbers" (talk about unobtanium... try to find a copy of that) staggered me on release -- hitting me hard on that place where love of seventeenth century painting and eighteenth century music intersect with the narrative strategies of J.G. Ballard. (A larger place than you might imagine...) At any rate, he veered off into realms of non-narrative film making that didn't much interest me.

He's recently finished a movie about Rembrandt's Night Watch -- apparently a sort of highbrow Da Vinci Code, starring Martin Freeman as the painter.

The interview is mostly about movies constructed from densely layered images and motion -- not based on what he calls "third-rate nineteenth century novelistic forms". He makes huge fun of naturalistic movies and ebulliently calls for a cinema based on nothing but itself -- an artificial cinema of images and music.

He really wants to make a 3D film......

8 comments:

GoJoe said...

Thanks for the heads up. Should be an interesting listen. I thought everyone had given up on Greenaway but me.

Tulkinghorn said...

"Nightwatching" is available for streaming on Netflix -- assuming you've got 141 minutes to spare (and, I suspect, a great deal of coffee)-- Still, Martin Freeman (the original Jim in the British "Office") does look a great deal like Rembrandt.

GoJoe said...

I've seen it and it's practically a commercial effort beside his TULSE LUPER cycle.

Tulkinghorn said...

"The Falls" is the only movie I've ever seen that I wanted to turn into a book...

Generic said...

This is actually kind of a brilliant comparison, in the sense that Cameron's interests in making films are almost as off to one side of the ostensible plot as Greenway's are. He recognizes the need for a plot to hang his images on, and strives to make it as universally accessible as possible, but ultimately it's an afterthought.

Not that he would ever admit it.

Tulkinghorn said...

There's a real pleasure in being understood.....

I took a mental health day yesterday and sought out Avatar 3D -- only four theatres in the LA metro area, none closer than 25 miles to my house.

Sigh....

Generic said...

There are people who think it works better in 2D. The stereo process darkens the image, it seems. New, more highly reflective screens are still needed to make it optimal.

Generic said...

That is, "Avatar" works better in 2D (some claim) because 3D still has some bugs to be worked out, specifically, a more reflective screen is needed to prevent the darkening of the image.