Oh Peter, Peter, Peter. Have you changed or have I? I think it’s fitting that I ended the festival with a Peter Greenaway film. I discovered Greenaway films when I was falling in love with cinema back 25 years or so ago.It was fitting also that I walked out on it as I did the first film of the festival.
I couldn’t determine a lot of plot with this film. The Russian director Sergei Eisenstein goes to Mexico to make a film and meets people and perhaps has to be protected. Perhaps there was more but I didn’t really care. This film felt like a jumbled pastiche. There are multiple frames showing the same moment just a few seconds out of step, caricatured characters, overlays of photos of real people against the actors playing them. Clever but superficial.
I can’t say there was anything I really liked about this film. Greenaway is known for his overt stylistic motifs, his willingness to subvert genre, his self-indulgence about esoteric topics. I think his films made me feel clever because I could get the knowing, sly, jokes and understand the irony. I loved The Draughtsman’s Contract, Death by Numbers, A Zed and Two Noughts, The Pillow Book. I should watch them again and see if it’s me that’s changed.