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Total Crap: 7.14%

1 review, 8 user ratings

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Zed & Two Noughts, A
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Amputees, swans, and decomposing zebras."
4 stars

A fancy, or at least British way of spelling out “zoo,” which is where the action takes place that sets everything forth: the wives of two zoologists are killed by a woman named Bewick who hits a swan on Swann’s Way. (And in case you didn’t know, bewick is a type of swan.)

Being that it’s a Peter Greenaway film, one isn’t about to make heads or tails of it. It features Greenaway’s highly obsessive tendencies in various forms (he loves to show things off in snippets of information — the decomposing of an apple, a fish, a crocodile, a Dalmatian, a swan, a zebra, etc.) and his rigorous self-imposed standards of visual bizarrity. The woman named Bewick (Andréa Ferréol) suffers first the loss of her right leg (the first images of the movie are of an amputated ape) before her symmetrical disproportion convinces her to amputate again, and she becomes the muse for the twin zoologists (Brian and Eric Deacon, not really twins) — formerly Siamese — who are attempting to find an evolutionary link between the deaths of their wives and a swan, and in the meantime, one or both of them manage to impregnate her. (“No limbs to hinder entry.”) Apart from the clarity of the humor, much of it centered around amputation (“How do you feel?”/ “Short of a leg”; short coffins, etc.), the dialogue itself follows tradition in the cryptic floatation of Greenaway’s ambiguous query, leading you on to connect pieces only when he sees it fit — and with everything in its place for a purpose. It’s frustratingly interesting for the director’s self-indulgences, but here Greenaway only allows for a head-scratching resolution insofar as there is never any intention for a clear understanding, at least within one viewing. (Another of Greenaway’s visual obsessions herein: the use of symmetry in compositions (and, to a degree, thematics), which is ably handled by cinematographer Sacha Vierny, often the DP on Alain Resnais’ films.) The best that could be said for A Zed and Two Noughts is you get what you invest into it, but any investment requires total commitment. Not exactly an equal tradeoff. With Frances Barber, Agnes Brulet, Joss Ackland, and Gerard Thoolen.


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originally posted: 02/21/04 14:16:23
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User Comments

2/11/08 Hello The braindead must be yourself 5 stars
1/14/08 Sayan I liked it a lot but didn't fully understand in first viewing. 4 stars
9/26/06 D'mit'riy It's wonderful! 5 stars
7/01/05 green gremlin Anyone who likes Greenaway must be braindead !!! 1 stars
11/08/04 darkwing One of the finest combinations of drama, photography, and music of the century. 5 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge I like Greenway. 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Interesting, but like many of Greenaway's films, overlong. 4 stars
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  02-Dec-1985 (PG)



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