Dom Kino celebrates Peter Greenaway
Published: June 13, 2012 (Issue # 1712)
‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover’ will be shown on June 16.
Maverick British film director Peter Greenaway will be honored with a retrospective to be held at the city’s Dom Kino movie theater from June 15-18. The survey will present a number of Greenaway’s feature-length films alongside early, lesser-known short films. The director will also take part in a benefit auction on June 18, where his paintings will be sold to aid a local charity.
Greenaway began his studies as a painter before turning to film. His first efforts were “mocumentary” in style — fictional films engaging the trappings of the documentary — and played with ideas of authenticity and authority, winning him a loyal following in art house cinemas around the world.
During the course of a career spanning more than 40 years, Greenaway has released a succession of highly stylized films that blend mystery, dark comedy and a recurring cast of characters to tell stories that address the age-old human concerns of love, sex and death — often in disconcerting proximity. Elegantly mannered, endlessly thought provoking, and frequently scored by long-time collaborator Michael Nyman, the films are sophisticated feasts of intellectual and visual pleasure.
The filmmaker will attend the opening of the retrospective at Dom Kino on June 15 and will present a screening of “Prospero’s Books,” his multilayered take on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” From 1991, the groundbreaking film stars John Gielgud as Prospero and features an intoxicating blend of opera, dance and digital animation.
“Seeing his movies on the big screen and hearing him speak live are extremely important for anyone interested in the history of cinema,” said Dmitry Panov, one of the festival organizers, talking to The St. Petersburg Times.
During the next three evenings, Dom Kino will screen “The Baby of Macon,” “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover,” “Nightwatching,” “The Draughtsman’s Contract,” “The Pillow Book,” “Drowning by Numbers” and a program of shorts.
The director is probably most familiar to audiences for “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover” (June 16). The film scandalized contemporary cinemagoers on its release with a brutal amalgamation of murder, adultery, cannibalism and gourmet dining — its painterly compositions and haunting score the perfect foil for the malevolence of its characters.
Greenaway’s visit to St. Petersburg will culminate in a charity auction of his work at the Kempinski Moika 22 hotel to benefit the Pantelemonovsky Medical Foundation. For the event, Greenaway’s paintings will be hung alongside the work of notable painters and sculptors from St. Petersburg, which will also go up on the block.
“Greenaway wants to show his paintings, and also to see first-hand the work that charities are doing here in St. Petersburg,” said Panov.
The proceeds from the auction will be used to support the efforts of the foundation, which helps children from Russia’s northwest receive vital health care.
For an interview with Peter Greenaway, see the next issue of The St. Petersburg Times, out on Thursday, June 21.
The Peter Greenaway Retrospective runs from June 15-18 at Dom Kino, 12 Karavannaya Ulitsa. Tel. 314 5614. www.domkino.spb.ru