A Zed & Two Noughts

1985

Comedy / Drama

140
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 6,413

Synopsis


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February 12, 2021

Cast

David Attenborough as Self - Documentary Narrator
Frances Barber as Venus de Milo
Geoffrey Palmer as Fallast
Joss Ackland as Van Hoyten
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.05 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
115 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.94 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
115 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Galina_movie_fan 7 / 10 / 10

Elegant Tale of Decomposing

I knew how strange and unusual Greenaway could be but Zed, I believe could take the cake :). I am not sure what it is all about but I still enjoy the triumvirate Greenaway - Sasha Verny- Michael Nyman. Some ideas and images Greenaway will use in the later "8 1/2 women" and "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover" - especially, the soundtrack. "Dead Ringers" and "Mon oncle d'Amérique" (two beautiful weirdnesses themselves) also come to mind while watching Greenaway's elegant tale of decomposing which is also his meditations about life, death and grief. As in earlier "The Draughtsman's Contract (1982), Greenaway explores the relationship between the close relatives - the twin brothers are in the center of "A Zed & two Noughts". The movie is also a modern retelling of an ancient myth about Leda and Zeus who took the form of a swan and slept with Leda on the same night as her husband, King Tyndareus. Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. Greenaway considers that 90% of his films one way or another refers to paintings. "A Zed & two Noughts" refers openly and with great admiration to the paintings of Johannes Vermeer van Delft. "A Zed & two Noughts" is not easy film to watch, its characters are not sympathetic, it lacks warmth and sentimentality but as always in Greenaway's films, it is a feast for eyes, ears, and for brain. 7.5/10

Reviewed by bodnotbod 10 / 10 / 10

Appeals to the brain more than the gut

Peter Greenaway is arty. Painfully so. However he readily admits that this film is "self-conscious", "manufactured" and he says that all cinema is probably as "artificial" a form as you can get. This film is beautiful to look at. Greenaway was inspired, visually, by paintings of the mid 17th century, particularly those of Vermeer. Almost every shot is composed like a painting. Many of the shots are symmetrical, walls are filmed flat so that the horizontal lines are parallel with the top and bottom of the frame. Objects are placed on tables as if subjects for a still life. Lighting is used in an alternation of light, shade,light,shade receding to the back of the picture, which is a signature of the type of 17th century, Western art that Greenaway is paying homage to. The substance of the film follows weighty themes, all of which are explained in great detail through the director's commentary: evolution, light and twin-ship. What is lacking is emotion. This is a cerebral film. Your emotional reaction to it will be through the imagery, be it beautiful or repulsive. You will not engage with the characters on an emotional level. You'll find them hard to relate to. The performances are stilted and amateur theatrical. It is fortunate, then, that Michael Nyman provides a fantastic score (present on almost every scene and almost outstaying its welcome) which prevents the dialogue (the script leaves a lot to be desired too) rendering everything flat. Rent this if you enjoy visuals for their own sake, if you wear spectacles and if you like holding your chin in your hand and frowning. I qualify on all those points, so I enjoyed it a great deal. Extra points for an extraordinarily thorough director's commentary on the DVD which serves to pull out all the hidden depths. Though one could make the point that an explanation that adds so much extra understanding leaves you feeling that the film failed adequately to convey much of what was intended. DVD easter eggs (worth seeing): http://www.dvd.net.au/hidden.cgi?movie_id=10484

Reviewed by Afracious 10 / 10 / 10

An intricate & textured study of decay & deterioration.

The film begins with the sound of a car crash. The next frame unfolds to show us a white car with a swan embedded in its windscreen, and a woman shouting out in agony. We can also see two women in the back of the car motionless. Who are then imposed on to a newspaper headline: SWAN CRASH TWO DIE, it says. The deceased women were married to twin brothers, zoologists Oliver and Oswald Deuce. After the accident they grieve at the bedside of the stricken survivor of the crash, a lady named Alba Bewick, who has had her leg amputated. At first they blame her for the accident, then later start to both sleep with her. Most of their time is spent photographing dead animals and plants. Some of these are shown decaying quickly, accompanied by good music from Michael Nyman. Also around the zoo is a prostitute named Venus De Milo, who the brothers both use. A strange figure named Van Hoyten. And also the film features the only feature film appearance of the English comedian Jim Davidson, who will be familiar to viewers in England. He plays Joshua Plate, an assistant at the zoo. Eventually Alba has her other leg amputated, and also has twin babies by the Deuce brothers. Yes, she claims they are by both of them. It then leads to a tragic conclusion. It is a fascinating film to watch. Beautiful to look at, as always with Greenaway's films. It offers the viewer many layers and textures to explore. Each scene is delicately structured. Something different. Watch it again and again.

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