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A Zed and Two Noughts1985

  • 4.0
"Two legs look so good together, don't you think?" A masterpiece of modern cinema, A ZED AND TWO NOUGHTS is Peter Greenaway's beautifully disturbing and darkly humorous take on obsession and death. In a horrific automobile-swan accident in front of the Rotterdam Zoo, two women die and a third, Alba (Andrea FerrпїЅol), loses her leg. The two widowers, twin zoologists Oliver and Oswald (Eric and Brian Deacon, in roles originally offered to the Quay Brothers), fixate on their wives' bodies and slowly become obsessed with evolution and decomposition, even going as far as to meticulously craft exquisitely morbid time-lapsed films of decaying creatures. The plot thickens when a mad surgeon schemes to use Alba as a subject in his experiments with animal symmetry and Vermeer homage. With this follow-up to his acclaimed THE DRAUGHTSMAN'S CONTRACT, Greenaway intensifies his already striking visual style by collaborating with legendary French cinematographer Sacha Vierny to create a masterpiece of motivated light. Full of surprises and magnificent conundrums, A ZED AND TWO NOUGHTS is a perversely comic and teasing treat for the mind and senses.

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“I think my cinema is better understood in terms of criticism generally applied to the pictorial traditions and the history of art. Sometimes I feel I’m a hippopotamus in a giraffe race.” - Peter Greenaway

1 member likes this review

Greenaway's eye catching treament of obsessive ideas about sex and death come to fruition in this early work. If you like Greenaway, you'll enjoy it.

Member Reviews (11)

An insufferable film where Greenaway’s bloated pretentiousness mauls any scrap of humor and visual intelligence to bits. He claims he wants the visuals to carry his films. It does not stop him from harassing the visuals with idiotic and relentless dialogue in this one. He said he did not want to make films. It shows here.

2 members like this review

Greenaway's eye catching treament of obsessive ideas about sex and death come to fruition in this early work. If you like Greenaway, you'll enjoy it.

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

The wives of twin doctors working for a zoo are killed in a car accident. The woman in the other car survives, but loses a leg. The brothers develop an obsessive sexual relationship with her ... and a ton of other things happen. They become obsessed with death and film time lapse footage of putrefying animal corpses. A young girl learns the alphabet. They amputate the other leg because ... well, symmetry I guess. I like but don't love this film. It has a lot of Greenaway's hallmarks ... a slightly atypical, but incredible Michael Nyman score, stunning cinematography from Sacha Vierny (working with Greenaway for the first time) ... but the film is ultimately too meandering and unfocused for me.

top reviewer

Sumptuous rigidity of form and theme. A feast for brain and eye.

top reviewer

Masterful and odd experimental film about morality and various levels of decay. It is an achievement full of artistic quality. The problem is that the whole pursuit is so off-kilter it seems to almost trip itself up.

top reviewer

Mildly amusing? comedy with extra annoying sound track.

top reviewer

Could be the most bizarre movie ever made. Zebra obsessions, snail proliferation, the psychology of the siamese twin, amputation quips, and most bizarre of all, The Teddy Bear Picnic and An Elephant Never Forgets.

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top reviewer

Z O O is a maniacal surreal, dark comedy,extremely entertaining, Greenaway is not for the squeamish. AMPUTEE SEX AND NEAR NECROPHELIA

A wonderfully dark twisted comedy, about Amputee sex and Death obsession

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A strange film but the mise-en-scene, music and cinematograhy are beautiful. A lot of symmetry with many shots having both sides duplicates of each other. It seems to be a meditation on evolution, life and death, decomposition, sex and obsessions.

Alongside 8 1/2 women this is my favorite Greenaway and Nyman is there providing the great usic that is as much part of a Greenway movie as Sasha's Vierny photography.