Terry Gilliam city Amsterdam film Death art Terry Gilliam city Amsterdam

Peter Greenaway Reflects on Career While Finishing First Film Since 2015

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variety.com

Peter Debruge Chief Film CriticRight off the bat, Peter Greenaway wants to make clear that he’s never really taken himself seriously as a filmmaker — although like so many of the paradoxes that comprise Greenaway’s identity, it’s not wise to take such a claim too seriously.“This is a terrible confession to speak to you,” he says via Skype from a tiny house on the Atlantic coast where he goes on weekends (the rest of his time he spends in Amsterdam, mostly). “There’s always that sense of being removed from the activity, of taking a step back and trying to look at it with not a sarcastic or derivative attitude, but certainly a considerable irony.”Such cheekiness is plenty apparent in Greenaway’s filmography, which spans 16 features, ranging from the Terry Gilliam-esque irreverence of “The Falls” (1980), a three-hour catalog of eccentric survivors of an imaginary cataclysm, to the obsessive brain-dump that is “The Tulse Luper Suitcases” (2003-04), a tricksy trio of features centered on his cinematic alter ego, the elusive Tulse Luper.

Greenaway boasts what is arguably the most playful c.v. of any major living director, overflowing with visual puns, mathematical puzzles and imaginary languages.

He’s obsessed with lists, maps and all manner of taxonomic tools that humans have designed to make sense of a chaotic world (that’s his structuralist impulse in action), even as he so clearly takes pleasure in subverting those very same systems (for which he’s been labeled a “poststructuralist” by those who share his affinity for classification).Now 80, the director of such arthouse shockers as 1989 cannibalism satire “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover” and 1996’s NC-17-rated “The Pillow Book” hasn’t mellowed one bit.

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