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Goltzius and the Pelican Company [Blu-ray]
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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
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this on lovefilm because the title interested me. Worst mistake I've ever made. I have to confess that I turned it off after only ten minutes, but that is ten minutes of my... Read morePublished 3 months ago by N1
What has Peter Greenaway got against deaf/hearing impaired people? His films are a visual feast BUT hardly ANY have subtitles. Read morePublished 9 months ago by nick
Not all regions is region B. I could not play while the menu is displayed, but the product arrived in good condition. The quality was excelente shipping.Published 11 months ago by Nicx Eliuth Ibañez Castañon
This is not a film for everyone but those who have the patience to keep up with the highly demanding discourses and overlapping textures should come to appreciate just how... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Michael Mcginty
It is pure Greenaway romp, but the quality the DVD is poor. Colors are very washed out and at timers it is not sharp enough.Published 12 months ago by alexander
I like the movie as a whole, kind of a return to form after Nightwatching, but this release is edited. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Morgan Hayes