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Prospero's Books
     

Prospero's Books

Director: Peter Greenaway, John Gielgud, Michael Clark, Michel Blanc

Cast: Peter Greenaway, John Gielgud, Michael Clark, Michel Blanc

 
Puzzle-master Peter Greenaway exposes another aspect of his peculiar obsessions to the filmgoing public. Prospero's Books uses Shakespeare as a foundation and then skips along to define its own lush territory. The books of the title are briefly referenced in The Tempest -- Prospero is a magician who gets to keep only a small fragment of his enormous

Overview

Puzzle-master Peter Greenaway exposes another aspect of his peculiar obsessions to the filmgoing public. Prospero's Books uses Shakespeare as a foundation and then skips along to define its own lush territory. The books of the title are briefly referenced in The Tempest -- Prospero is a magician who gets to keep only a small fragment of his enormous library when he is exiled with his daughter to an enchanted island. In the film, Prospero is played by Sir John Gielgud. Indeed, everybody is voiced by Gielgud as he describes the events that unfold. But mostly, he describes the books, and as he does, the screen fills with florid calligraphies, astonishing diagrams, extravagant paintings, and lots and lots of naked people.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Ankeny
A radical re-interpretation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books stars Sir John Gielgud as the title character, the former Duke of Milan exiled to a remote island to live with his cherished books and daughter Miranda (Isabelle Pasco). A linear adaptation of The Tempest this is not, however: for Greenaway, the books are more important than Prospero himself. Like its hero, the film is enraptured by the written word, and is densely layered with textual images -- pages, typography, calligraphy and illustrations -- composed in a series of double exposures and transparent overlays with the aid of a device dubbed an electronic paintbox. The soundtrack is similarly complex, an aural tapestry weaving together sound effects, echo chambers and Michael Nyman's neo-classical score. Like so much of Greenaway's work, Prospero's Books is also fascinated with the human form. In the style of Renaissance art, the film examines a parade of naked bodies, luxuriating in a sensuality buried in the original text. A difficult, even scandalous film, but one which pushes the boundaries of the medium to their breaking point.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/18/2016
UPC:
0086624419534
Original Release:
1991
Source:
Allied Artists
Region Code:
0

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Gielgud Prospero
Michael Clark Caliban
Michel Blanc Alonso
Erland Josephson Gonzalo
Isabelle Pasco Miranda
Tom Bell Antonio
Kenneth Cranham Sebastian
Mark Rylance Ferdinand
Gerard Thoolen Adrian
Pierre Bokma Francisco
Jim Van Der Woude Trinculo
Michiel Romeyn Stephano
Orpheo Ariel
Paul Russell Ariel
James Thierree Ariel
Emil Wolk Ariel
Marie Angel Iris
Ute Lemper Cory
Deborah Conway Juno
Kris Niklison Actor

Technical Credits
Peter Greenaway Director,Screenwriter
Philippe Carcassonne Co-producer
Michael Clark Choreography
Masato Hara Producer
Kees Kasander Producer
Katsufumi Nakamura Producer
Yoshinobu Namano Producer
Michael Nyman Score Composer
Marina Rodbyl Editor
Jan Roelfs Production Designer
Michel Seydoux Co-producer
Ben Van Os Production Designer
Dien van Straalen Costumes/Costume Designer
Sacha Vierny Cinematographer
Emi Wada Costumes/Costume Designer
Roland Wigman Producer
Denis Wigman Producer

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