Prospero's Books is a 1991 British avant-garde film adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Tempest and directed by Peter Greenaway. John Gielgud plays Prospero, the protagonist who provides the off-screen narration and the voices to the other story characters. Stylistically, Prospero's Books is narratively and cinematically innovative in its techniques, combining mime, dance and animation. Edited in Japan, the film makes extensive use of digital image manipulation overlaying multiple moving and still pictures with animations. Michael Nyman composed the musical score and Karine Saporta choreographed the dance; the film is notable for its extensive use of nudity, reminiscent of Renaissance paintings of mythological characters. The nude actors and extras represent a cross-section of male and female humanity. Prospero's Books is a complex tale based upon William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, an exiled magician, falls in love with Ferdinand, the son of his enemy. In the film, Prospero stands in for Shakespeare himself, is seen writing and speaking the story's action as it unfolds.
Ariel is played by four actors: three acrobats — a boy, an adolescent, a youth — and a boy singer. Each represents a classical elemental; the books of Prospero number 24 according to the production design which outlines each volume's content. The list is reminiscent of the lost books of Epicurus. A Book of Water A Book of Mirrors A Book of Mythologies A Primer of the Small Stars An Atlas Belonging to Orpheus A Harsh Book of Geometry The Book of Colours The Vesalius Anatomy of Birth An Alphabetical Inventory of the Dead A Book of Travellers' Tales The Book of the Earth A Book of Architecture and Other Music The Ninety-Two Conceits of the Minotaur The Book of Languages End-plants A Book of Love A Bestiary of Past and Future Animals The Book of Utopias The Book of Universal Cosmography Lore of Ruins The Autobiographies of Pasiphae and Semiramis A Book of Motion The Book of Games Thirty-Six Plays John Gielgud as Prospero Michael Clark as Caliban Michel Blanc as Alonso Erland Josephson as Gonzalo Isabelle Pasco as Miranda Tom Bell as Antonio Kenneth Cranham as Sebastian Mark Rylance as Ferdinand Gerard Thoolen as Adrian Pierre Bokma as Francisco Jim van der Woude as Trinculo Michiel Romeyn as Stephano Paul Russell as Ariel James Thiérrée as Ariel Gielgud is quoted as saying that a film of The Tempest was his life's ambition, as he had been in four stage productions in 1931, 1940, 1957, 1974.
He had approached Alain Resnais, Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Orson Welles about directing him in it, with Benjamin Britten to compose its score, Albert Finney as Caliban, before Greenaway agreed. The closest earlier attempts came to being made was in 1967, with Welles both directing and playing Caliban, but after the commercial failure of their film collaboration, Chimes at Midnight, financing for a cinematic Tempest collapsed. The film was screened out of competition at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. Michael Medved attacked the film extensively in his book, Hollywood vs. America for the nudity, in particular, the scenes of urination; this was the last of the collaborations between composer Michael Nyman. Most of the film's music cues, are from an earlier concert, La Traversée de Paris and the score from A Zed & Two Noughts; the soundtrack album is Nyman's sixteenth release. Produced by David Cunningham Engineer: Michael J. Dutton Assistant engineer: Dillon Gallagher, Chris Brown Mixed by Michael J. Dutton, Michael Nyman, David Cunningham at PRT Studios and Abbey Road Studios Edited at Abbey Road Studios by Peter Mew Art Direction: Ann Bradbeer Photography: Marc Guillamot Design: Creative Partnership Artist representative: Don Mousseau Aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports 67% approval of Prospero's Books, with an average rating of 5.9/10 and a critical consensus of, "There is no middle ground for viewers of Peter Greenaway's work, but for his fans, Prospero's Books is reliably daring."
Roger Ebert gave the work three stars out of four and argued, "Most of the reviews of this film have missed the point. It is a work of original art, which Greenaway asks us to accept or reject on his own terms." Prospero's Books on IMDb Prospero's Books at AllMovie
The Draughtsman's Contract
The Draughtsman's Contract is a 1982 British film written and directed by Peter Greenaway – his first conventional feature film. Produced for Channel 4 the film is a form of murder mystery, set in rural Wiltshire, England in 1694; the period setting is reflected in Michael Nyman's score, which borrows from Henry Purcell and in the extensive and elaborate costume designs. The action was shot on formal gardens of Groombridge Place; the film received the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Film Critics Association. Mr. Neville, a young, arrogant artist and something of a Byronic hero, is contracted by Mrs. Virginia Herbert to produce a series of twelve landscape drawings of her country house, its outbuildings and gardens, for her absent and estranged husband. Part of the contract is that Mrs. Herbert agrees "to meet Mr. Neville in private and to comply with his requests concerning his pleasure with me". Several sexual encounters between them follow, each indicating reluctance or distress on the part of Mrs Herbert and sexual aggression or insensitivity on the part of Mr Neville.
During his stay, Mr. Neville becomes disliked by several of its visitors and inhabitants by Mrs. Herbert's son-in-law, Mr. Talmann. Mrs. Herbert, wearied of meeting Mr. Neville for his pleasure, tries to terminate the contract before the drawings are completed. Neville continues as before. Mrs. Herbert's married but childless daughter, Mrs. Talmann, blackmails him into a second contract in which he agrees to comply with her pleasure, rather than his — a reversal of the position in regard to her mother, by suggesting that, as a number of incongruous objects in the drawings point to the murder of Mr. Herbert, the drawings suggest that Mr. Neville is an accomplice. Mr Herbert's body is discovered in the moat. Mr. Neville returns to make an unlucky thirteenth drawing. In the evening, while Mr. Neville is finishing the final sketch, he is approached by a masked man Mr. Talmann in disguise, joined by the estate manager and Mrs Herbert's ex fiancé, Mr. Noyes, neighbour Mr. Seymore and the Poulencs, eccentric local landowner twins.
The party accuses Mr. Neville of the murder of Mr. Herbert, for the drawings can be interpreted to suggest more than one illegal act and to implicate more than one person; when he denies the accusation, the group ask Mr. Neville to remove his hat, he agrees mockingly, at which point they hit him on the head, burn out his eyes, club him to death and throw him into the moat at the place where Mr. Herbert's body was found. Although there is a murder mystery, its resolution is not explicit. Mrs Herbert and Mrs Talmann were aided by Mr Clarke, the gardener, his assistant. In order to keep the estate in their hands, they needed an heir; because Mr Talmann was impotent, they used Mr Neville as a stud. Mr Herbert was murdered at the site; the film was inspired when Greenaway, who trained as an artist before becoming a filmmaker, spent three weeks drawing a house near Hay-on-Wye while holidaying with his family. Much like Mr. Neville in the final film, every day he would work on a particular view at a set time, to preserve the lighting effects while sketching from day to day.
The hands shown drawing in the film are Greenaway's own. The original cut of the film was about three hours long; the opening scene was about 30 minutes long and showed each character talking, at least once, with every other character. To make the film easier to watch, Greenaway edited it to 103 minutes; the opening scene is now about 10 minutes long and no longer shows all the interactions among all of the characters. Some anomalies in the longer version film are deliberate anachronisms: the depiction of the use of a cordless phone in the 17th century and the inclusion on the walls of the house of paintings by Greenaway in emulation of Roy Lichtenstein which are visible in the released version of the film; the released final version provides fewer explanations to the plot's numerous oddities and mysteries. The main murder mystery is never solved; the reasons for the'living statue' in the garden and why Mr. Neville attached so many conditions to his contract were more developed in the first version.
Groombridge Place was the main location in this tale of murder. Michael Nyman's score is derived from grounds by Henry Purcell overlain by new melodies; the original plan was to use one ground for every two of the twelve drawings but Nyman states in the liner notes that this was unworkable. The ground for one of the most popular pieces, "An Eye for Optical Theory", is considered to be composed by William Croft, a contemporary of Purcell; the goal was to create a generalized memory of Purcell, rather than specific memories, so a piece as recognized as "Dido's Lament" was not considered an acceptable source of a ground. Purcell is credited as a "music consultant"; the album was the fourth album release by Michael Nyman and the third to feature the Michael Nyman Band. "It's like harpsichord and a lot of strings, woodwind and a bit of brass," remarked Neil Hannon, frontman of The Divine Comedy. "Somehow they just manage to
Amerongen Castle was built between 1674 and 1680, on the site of a medieval castle, burned down by the French in 1673. The gardens still contain historic elements such as a conservatory dating from the 1890s. In 1918, the former German Kaiser Wilhelm II signed his abdication here and stayed till 1920, when he moved to Huis Doorn; the current building was designed by the architect Maurits Post as a baroque palace for the owners Godard Adriaan van Reede and his wife Margaretha Turnor. In the main hall a central staircase with painted ceiling was built by Willem van Nimwegen. Other ornaments were added in the early 20th century by P. J. H. Cuypers; the gardens contain historical elements and the walls predate 1673. Near the entrance bridge dating from 1678 is a wooden clock tower from 1728 that contains the original clock of the same date. In the north-east corner of the gardens is an orangerie dating from the 1880s, the north wall was raised during the period when Wilhelm II was residing there 1918-1920.
He abdicated in Amerongen moved to Huis Doorn. From 2002-2011 the castle was restored as a partnership between the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed and various funds in the cultural heritage sector. To celebrate the completion of the restoration activities, from July 1, 2011 till June 21, 2012, a video installation by Saskia Boddeke and Peter Greenaway was presented to visitors at the castle. Through sophisticated video projections visitors are taken back in time to 21 June 1680. In 37 minutes the story is told on 21 different screens throughout the castle; the castle functions is open from 11 to 5 PM from Thursday to Sunday. Stichting Kasteel Amerongen website Trailer: A day in the life of Castle Amerongen - 1680, YouTube Trailer
Raoul Gustaf Wallenberg was a Swedish architect, businessman and humanitarian. He is remembered for saving tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust from German Nazis and Hungarian Fascists during the stages of World War II. While serving as Sweden's special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory. On 17 January 1945, during the Siege of Budapest by the Red Army, Wallenberg was detained by SMERSH on suspicion of espionage and subsequently disappeared, he was reported to have died on 17 July 1947 while imprisoned by the KGB secret police in the Lubyanka, the KGB headquarters and affiliated prison in Moscow. The motives behind Wallenberg's arrest and imprisonment by the Soviet government, along with questions surrounding the circumstances of his death and his ties to US intelligence, remain mysterious and are the subject of continued speculation; as a result of his successful efforts to rescue Hungarian Jews, Wallenberg has been the subject of numerous humanitarian honours in the decades following his presumed death.
In 1981, US Congressman Tom Lantos, one of those saved by Wallenberg, sponsored a bill making Wallenberg an honorary citizen of the United States, the second person to receive this honour. Wallenberg is an honorary citizen of Canada, Hungary and Israel. Israel has designated Wallenberg one of the Righteous Among the Nations. Numerous monuments have been dedicated to him, streets have been named after him throughout the world; the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States was created in 1981 to "perpetuate the humanitarian ideals and the nonviolent courage of Raoul Wallenberg." It gives the Raoul Wallenberg Award annually to recognize persons. He was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress "in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust." Wallenberg was born in 1912 in Lidingö Municipality, near Stockholm, where his maternal grandparents, Professor Per Johan Wising and his wife Sophie Wising, had built a summer house in 1882. His paternal grandfather, Gustaf Wallenberg, was a diplomat and envoy to Tokyo and Sofia.
His parents, who married in 1911, were Raoul Oscar Wallenberg, a Swedish naval officer, Maria "Maj" Sofia Wising. His father died of cancer three months before he was born, his maternal grandfather died of pneumonia three months after his birth, his mother and grandmother, now both widows, raised him together. In 1918, his mother married Fredric von Dardel. After high school and his compulsory eight months in the Swedish military, Wallenberg's paternal grandfather sent him to study in Paris, he spent one year there, in 1931, he matriculated at the University of Michigan in the United States to study architecture. Although the Wallenberg family was rich, he worked at odd jobs in his free time and joined other young male students as a passenger rickshaw handler at Chicago's Century of Progress, he used his vacations to explore the United States, with hitchhiking being his preferred method of travel. About his experiences, he wrote to his grandfather saying, "When you travel like a hobo, everything's different.
You have to be on the alert the whole time. You're in close contact with new people every day. Hitchhiking gives you training in diplomacy and tact." Wallenberg was aware of his one-sixteenth Jewish ancestry, proud of it. It came from his great-great-grandfather Michael Benedicks, who immigrated to Stockholm in 1780. Professor Ingemar Hedenius recalls a conversation with Raoul dating back to 1930, when they were together in an army hospital during military service: We had many long and intimate conversations, he was full of plans for the future. Although I was a good deal older – you could choose when to do your service – I was enormously impressed by him, he was proud of his partial Jewish ancestry and, must have exaggerated it somewhat. I remember him saying,'A person like me, both a Wallenberg and half-Jewish, can never be defeated', he graduated from university in 1935, but upon his return to Sweden, he found his American degree did not qualify him to practice as an architect. That year, his grandfather arranged a job for him in Cape Town, South Africa, in the office of a Swedish company that sold construction material.
After six months in South Africa, he took a new job at a branch office of the Holland Bank in Haifa. He returned to Sweden in 1936, securing a job in Stockholm with the help of his uncle and godfather, Jacob Wallenberg, at the Central European Trading Company, an export-import company trading between Stockholm and central Europe, owned by Kálmán Lauer, a Hungarian Jew. Beginning in 1938, the Kingdom of Hungary, under the regency of Miklós Horthy, passed a series of anti-Jewish measures modeled on the so-called Nuremberg Race Laws enacted in Germany by the Nazis in 1935. Like their German counterparts, the Hungarian laws focused on restricting Jews from certain professions, reducing the number of Jews in government and public service jobs, prohibiting intermarriage; because of this, Wallenberg's business associate, Kálmán Lauer, found it difficult to travel to his native Hungary, moving still deeper into the German orbit, becoming a member of the Axis powers in November 1940 and joining the Nazi-led invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.
Out of necessity Wallenberg became Lauer's personal representative, traveling to Hungary to conduct busin
Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary, the tenth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits. The city had an estimated population of 1,752,704 in 2016 distributed over a land area of about 525 square kilometres. Budapest is both a city and county, forms the centre of the Budapest metropolitan area, which has an area of 7,626 square kilometres and a population of 3,303,786, comprising 33 percent of the population of Hungary; the history of Budapest began when an early Celtic settlement transformed into the Roman town of Aquincum, the capital of Lower Pannonia. The Hungarians arrived in the territory in the late 9th century; the area was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241. Buda, the settlements on the west bank of the river, became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture by the 15th century; the Battle of Mohács in 1526 was followed by nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule. After the reconquest of Buda in 1686, the region entered a new age of prosperity.
Pest-Buda became a global city with the unification of Buda, Óbuda, Pest on 17 November 1873, with the name'Budapest' given to the new capital. Budapest became the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I; the city was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Battle of Budapest in 1945, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Budapest is an Alpha − global city with strengths in commerce, media, fashion, technology and entertainment, it is Hungary's financial centre and the highest ranked Central and Eastern European city on Innovation Cities Top 100 index, as well ranked as the second fastest-developing urban economy in Europe. Budapest is the headquarters of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the European Police College and the first foreign office of the China Investment Promotion Agency. Over 40 colleges and universities are located in Budapest, including the Eötvös Loránd University, the Semmelweis University and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.
Opened in 1896, the city's subway system, the Budapest Metro, serves 1.27 million, while the Budapest Tram Network serves 1.08 million passengers daily. Budapest is cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, ranked as "the world's second best city" by Condé Nast Traveler, "Europe's 7th most idyllic place to live" by Forbes. Among Budapest's important museums and cultural institutions is the Museum of Fine Arts. Further famous cultural institutions are the Hungarian National Museum, House of Terror, Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Hungarian State Opera House and National Széchényi Library; the central area of the city along the Danube River is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has many notable monuments, including the Hungarian Parliament, Buda Castle, Fisherman's Bastion, Gresham Palace, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Matthias Church and the Liberty Statue. Other famous landmarks include Andrássy Avenue, St. Stephen's Basilica, Heroes' Square, the Great Market Hall, the Nyugati Railway Station built by the Eiffel Company of Paris in 1877 and the second-oldest metro line in the world, the Millennium Underground Railway.
The city has around 80 geothermal springs, the largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, third largest Parliament building in the world. Budapest attracts 4.4 million international tourists per year, making it a popular destination in Europe. The separate towns of Buda, Óbuda, Pest were in 1873 unified and given the new name Budapest. Before this, the towns together had sometimes been referred to colloquially as "Pest-Buda". Pest has been sometimes used colloquially as a shortened name for Budapest. All varieties of English pronounce the -s- as in the English word pest; the -u in Buda- is pronounced either /u/ like food or /ju/ like cue. In Hungarian, the -s- is pronounced /ʃ/ as in wash; the origins of the names "Buda" and "Pest" are obscure. The first name comes from: Buda was the name of the first constable of the fortress built on the Castle Hill in the 11th century or a derivative of Bod or Bud, a personal name of Turkic origin, meaning'twig'. or a Slavic personal name, the short form of Budimír, Budivoj.
Linguistically, however, a German origin through the Slavic derivative вода is not possible, there is no certainty that a Turkic word comes from the word buta ~ buda'branch, twig'. According to a legend recorded in chronicles from the Middle Ages, "Buda" comes from the name of its founder, brother of Hunnic ruler Attila. There are several theories about Pest. One states that the name derives from Roman times, since there was a local fortress called by Ptolemaios "Pession". Another has it that Pest originates in the Slavic word for пещера, or peštera. A third cites pešt, referencing a cave where fires burned or a limekiln; the first settlement on the territory of Budapest was built by Celts before 1 AD. It was occupied by the Romans; the Roman settlement – Aquincum – became the main city of Pannonia Inferior in 106 AD. At first it was a military settlement, the city rose around it, making it the focal point of the city's commercial life. Today this area corresponds to the Óbuda district within Budapest.
The Romans constructed roads, amphitheaters and houses with heated floors in this fortified military camp. The Roman city of Aquincum is the best-conserved of the Roman sites in Hungary; the archaeological site was turned into a museum with open-air sections. The Magyar tribes led by Árpád, forc
Antwerp is a city in Belgium, is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium, with 1,200,000 the second largest metropolitan region after Brussels. Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the river's Westerschelde estuary, it is about 40 kilometres north of Brussels, about 15 kilometres south of the Dutch border. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally; the city is known for its diamond industry and trade. Both economically and culturally, Antwerp is and has long been an important city in the Low Countries before and during the Spanish Fury and throughout and after the subsequent Dutch Revolt. Antwerp was the place of the world's oldest stock exchange building built in 1531 and re-built in 1872; the inhabitants of Antwerp are nicknamed Sinjoren, after the Spanish honorific señor or French seigneur, "lord", referring to the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the 17th century.
The city hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics. According to folklore, notably celebrated by a statue in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend about a giant called Antigoon who lived near the Scheldt river, he extracted a toll from passing boatmen, for those who refused, he severed one of their hands and threw it into the river. The giant was killed by a young hero named Silvius Brabo, who cut off the giant's own hand and flung it into the river. Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen, akin to Old English hand and wearpan, which has evolved to today's warp. A longstanding theory is that the name originated in the Gallo-Roman period and comes from the Latin antverpia. Antverpia would come from Ante Verpia, indicating land that forms by deposition in the inside curve of a river. Note that the river Scheldt, before a transition period between 600 and 750, followed a different track; this must have coincided with the current ringway south of the city, situating the city within a former curve of the river.
However, many historians think it unlikely that there was a large settlement which would be named'Antverpia', but more something like an outpost with a river crossing. However, John Lothrop Motley argues, so do a lot of Dutch etymologists and historians, that Antwerp's name derives from "anda" and "werpum" to give an't werf. Aan't werp is possible; this "warp" is a man-made hill or a river deposit, high enough to remain dry at high tide, whereupon a construction could be built that would remain dry. Another word for werp is pol hence polders. Alfred Michiels has suggested that derivations based on hand werpen, Antverpia, "on the wharf", or "at the warp" lack historical backing in the form of recorded past spellings of the placename, he points instead to Dado's Life of St. Eligius from the 7th century, which records the form Andoverpis, he sees in it a Celtic origin indicating "those who live on both banks". Historical Antwerp had its origins in a Gallo-Roman vicus. Excavations carried out in the oldest section near the Scheldt, 1952–1961, produced pottery shards and fragments of glass from mid-2nd century to the end of the 3rd century.
The earliest mention of Antwerp dates from the 4th century. In the 4th century, Antwerp was first named; the Merovingian Antwerp was evangelized by Saint Amand in the 7th century. At the end of the 10th century, the Scheldt became the boundary of the Holy Roman Empire. Antwerp became a margraviate in 980, by the German emperor Otto II, a border province facing the County of Flanders. In the 11th century, the best-known leader of the First Crusade, Godfrey of Bouillon, was Margrave of Antwerp, from 1076 until his death in 1100, though he was also Duke of Lower Lorraine and Defender of the Holy Sepulchre. In the 12th century, Norbert of Xanten established a community of his Premonstratensian canons at St. Michael's Abbey at Caloes. Antwerp was the headquarters of Edward III during his early negotiations with Jacob van Artevelde, his son Lionel, the Duke of Clarence, was born there in 1338. After the silting-up of the Zwin and the consequent decline of Bruges, the city of Antwerp part of the Duchy of Brabant, grew in importance.
At the end of the 15th century the foreign trading houses were transferred from Bruges to Antwerp, the building assigned to the English nation is mentioned in 1510. Antwerp became the sugar capital of Europe, importing the raw commodity from Portuguese and Spanish plantations; the city attracted Italian and German sugar refiners by 1550, shipped their refined product to Germany Cologne. Moneylenders and financiers developed a large business lending money all over Europe including the English government in 1544–1574. London bankers were too small to operate on that scale, Antwerp had a efficient bourse that itself attracted rich bankers from around Europe. After the 1570s, the city's banking business declined: England ended its borrowing in Antwerp in 1574. Fernand Braudel states that Antwerp became "the centre of the entire international economy, something Bruges had never been at its height." Antwerp was the richest city in Europe at this time. Antwerp's golden age is l
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is a 1989 crime drama film written and directed by Peter Greenaway, starring Richard Bohringer, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Alan Howard in the titular roles. The film's graphic scatology and nude scenes, as well as its lavish cinematography and formalism, were noted at the time of its release. English gangster Albert Spica has taken over the high-class Le Hollandais Restaurant, run by French chef Richard Boarst. Spica makes nightly appearances at the restaurant with his retinue of thugs, his oafish behavior causes frequent confrontations with the staff and his own customers, whose patronage he loses, but whose money he seems not to miss. Forced to accompany Spica is his reluctant, well-bred wife, who soon catches the eye of a quiet regular at the restaurant, bookshop owner Michael. Under her husband's nose, Georgina carries on an affair with Michael with the help of the restaurant staff. Spica learns of the affair, forcing Georgina to hide out at Michael's book depository.
Boarst sends food to Georgina through a boy soprano who sings while working. Spica tortures the boy before finding the bookstore's location written in a book the boy is carrying. Spica's men storm Michael's bookshop, they torture Michael to death by force-feeding him pages from his books. Georgina discovers his body. Overcome with rage and grief, she begs Boarst to cook Michael's body, he complies. Together with all the people that Spica wronged throughout the film, Georgina confronts her husband at the restaurant and forces him at gunpoint to eat a mouthful of Michael's cooked body. Spica obeys. Georgina shoots him in the head, calling him a cannibal. Peter Greenaway has said that the Jacobean play'Tis Pity She's a Whore provided him with the main template for his screenplay. Michael Nyman's score prominently incorporated his 1985 composition, Memorial. Jean-Paul Gaultier designed the costumes. Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli prepared the food used as props; the film debuted at the 1989 Toronto International Film Festival and was released on October 13, 1989 in London on two screens.
It grossed over $500,000 in London. In its opening week in Paris, it grossed $158,500. Miramax acquired the rights for $500,000 and released the film in New York on April 6, 1990, it was Greenaway's first film to be released in the US since The Draughtsman's Contract in 1982. It grossed $7.7 million in the US. The film's original running time was 124 minutes. Due to the content, the MPAA gave Miramax a choice of either an X rating or go unrated for theatrical release. Unrated was chosen in light of the X rating being more associated with pornographic films. Two versions of the film were released on VHS in the 1990s. One was an R-rated cut running 95 minutes; the film received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds an 87% score based on 39 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's consensus states: "This romantic crime drama may not be to everyone's taste, but The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is an audacious, powerful film." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars, noting that the film's raw emotion and violent interpersonal conflict was a departure from Greenaway's cerebral and intellectual films.
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is the twelfth album release by Michael Nyman and the ninth to feature the Michael Nyman Band. The album includes the first commercially released recording of "Memorial". There is some music not included on the soundtrack album: the love theme for Michael and Georgina, "Fish Beach" from Drowning by Numbers, the song performed as a show in the restaurant, sung by actress and singer Flavia Brilli, or a doubly pulsed variation of "Memorial" that occurs about halfway through the film. Edits of "Memorial" appear throughout the film, with the entire twelve-minute movement accompanying the final scene and end credits, but one variation is uniquely created for the film. Official website The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover on IMDb The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover at Box Office Mojo The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover at Rotten Tomatoes