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Goltzius and the Pelican Company [Blu-ray]

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: F. Murray Abraham, Vincent Riotta, Halina Reijn, Flavio Parenti, Anne Louise Hassing
  • Directors: Peter Greenaway
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Axiom Films
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Sept. 2014
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00L99T7T6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,613 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

From Peter Greenaway (Nightwatching, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover), one of the most inventive, ambitious and controversial film-makers of our time, comes a sumptuous period drama told in explicit detail, exploring the life of celebrated 16th century Dutch printer and engraver of erotic prints Hendrik Goltzius. Attempting to seduce the Margrave of Alsace (F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus, Homeland) into paying for a printing press to make and publish his erotic imagery, Goltzius promises the Margrave a spectacular illustration of the Old Testament s biblical stories: erotic takes on figures such as Adam and Eve, Lot and his daughters, Samson & Delilah and John the Baptist & Salome. To tempt the Margrave further, Goltzius and his printing company offer to perform dramatisations of these erotic tales for his court... Recently awarded Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema at the 2014 BAFTA s, Peter Greenaway returns to the cinematic arena of The Draughtsman s Contract with GOLTZIUS AND THE PELICAN COMPANY, a film that showcases Greenaway s hallmarks of breath-taking visual framing and a fascination with sex and death. Winner of the award for Best Film Out of Official Competition at Rome Film Festival, GOLTZIUS AND THE PELICAN COMPANY is Peter Greenaway s second biopic on Dutch Masters (following Rembrandt portrait Nightwatching).


playful, immaculately staged and outrageous --Emma Simmonds, THE ARTS DESK

a wonderful blast of thinking showmanship from Peter Greenaway --Nigel Andrews, FINANCIAL TIMES

Sensational… giddying, provocative and titillating, a film of huge intellectual ambition and a raucous kind of beauty, rich with colours, fabrics and flesh. --Jason Solomons, MAIL ON SUNDAY

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Goltzius and his pelican company are a band, or troop, of entertainers who want to set up a printing press to produce enlightening pictures of `art', the sort of art that gets pulses racing. Well they happen upon the kingdom of The Margrave of Alsace. Where Goltzius sets out to seduce him into funding his entrepreneurial activities and make some cash into the bargain.

In order to do this he is required to put on several plays of a `Biblical' nature for the titillation of their imminent (hopefully) financier. The plays all examine the latent sexuality of the stories, and in doing so challenge the hypocrisy of the sixteenth century religious establishment. The plays lead to public debate that starts out as free speech and soon descends into anything but. In the meantime the on stage sexual displays get hotter and lewder to a point where the `legitimate voyeurism' of the audience is replaced with something more akin to mob rule or directorial influence. As the analysis falls away it is replaced by accusation and retribution and the audience become the players in what is ever closer to recreation of sins of the past and nothing to do with public debate and discourse.

Now this is a film from Peter Greenaway (`The Cook, the thief, his wife and her lover') who is known for making controversial stuff. This has full frontal nudity throughout with on screen copulation aplenty. The story is mostly developed with a running narrative from Goltzius to camera. There is , at the beginning, a lot of comparisons to art history and portrayals of the characters from the Bible from Adam and Eve to Sodom and Gomorrah. Also most of the shots are overlaid with other scenes that add extra animation but can become distracting.
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I would disagree with the person who said that the film (whatever you think of it) loses impetus halfway through, and abandons the device of analysing the bible stories. If you are paying attention, you'll see that the story becomes increasingly complex and intriguing as the onlookers are either affected by or become embroiled in the 'on-stage' dramatisations. I would not want to spoil this for anyone by outlining the plot - suffice it to say that in the end, the Margrave is drawn into performing on stage himself, and as Goltzius puts it 'the whole thing was supposed to be a metaphor, but it turned into a bloody reality'. The ending is both tragic and optimistic. Ramsey Nasr's portrayal of Goltzius is witty and endearing. This isn't a film about the 16th Century - it's a film about now, and about the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of opinion in the digital age.
I haven't given the film 5 stars as for me it is not quite as good as some of Greenaway's (less self-conscious?) earlier films. It seems in this film that he's 'explaining himself' and summing up his career. But as he's in his 70s now and has been so often misunderstood I'll forgive him that! I enjoyed the film very much - most of all, I'm inspired by his determination to make films in the way that he wants to, rather than just knocking out something for easy commercial success.
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Format: DVD
You can normally rely on a Peter Greenaway film to be outrageously explicit, creatively overwhelming and narratively incomprehensible. Goltzius And The Pelican Company is a little different.

As usual, there’s full-on nudity and erotic encounters of varied and inventive and barely censored kinds. Likewise, the audience experiences nearly two hours of a constant cascade of dazzling imagery, obscure chamber music, sacrilegious narrative, and some delightfully dry and witty dialogue.
But! There is also a story which actually underpins the events and which even seems to make some sense. Most unusual.
However, the plot isn’t really the important thing. ‘Goltzius’ is an indulgent exercise in the exploration of the early bible stories, poking fun at the po-faced hypocrisy of the religions of the 16th century. It’s one of those Russian doll tales, where each story is wrapped inside another narrative. Over the course of the film the various tales become intertwined so that the audience and even the players themselves aren’t certain of the boundaries between art and artifice.
The result is a magnificent, extravagant tangle of human desire, despair and deceit, smattered with sharp stabs of vicious insight and all wrapped up in a red ribbon, begging to be removed. With teeth.
However, it kinda loses impetus after the first couple of bible stories are told. Initially, each tale is examined and its moral and religious meanings are mercilessly dissected, and it’s this debate which gives the film its intellectual momentum. This device is abandoned part-way through – probably had to be, otherwise the film would’ve gone on for three hours or more – which leaves the whole edifice resting on the rather more superficial aspects of the story. A shame.
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By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Oct. 2015
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The visual and aural impact of this otherwise sordid tale is exemplary: all of Greenaway's old tricks returning as strong as ever. The story line wherein religious principle is revealed as hollow is a bit of a downer; as if Tinto Brass had decided to redo Rohmer's Six Moral Tales. The lack of any subtlety as the message is hammered home told against the film for me; but many will enjoy seeing hypocrisy discomfited.
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