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May 1 (Tuesday) 7 pm

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover

Directed by Peter Greenaway
France/Netherlands/UK 1989, 35mm, color, 120 min.
With Michel Gambon, Helen Mirren, Alan Howard

Greenaway’s grisly, color-coded fugue built on themes of gluttony, adultery, fashion, art, and retaliation makes this his most deliciously nefarious venture. The film’s blend of violence, eroticism, melancholia, and satire recalls a classic revenge play out of Jacobean theater, but the look is pure Rembrandt meets Gaultier. The film may be read as political commentary on Thatcher’s Britain, visual commentary on the intersection of artistic practices in painting, architecture, and design, or as social commentary on the very status of the human soul in barbarous times.

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Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700