les presses du réel

Drowning by Numbers

Peter Greenaway - Drowning by Numbers
Drowning by Numbers tells the story of three women from different age groups named Cissie Colpitts who each have murdered their husbands by drowning them. The narrative structure of the film underlies a numerical order based on the number 100. A fascinating riddle on man's relationship with death and time.
Drowning by numbers is a treasure hunt where the narrative itself plays with love and death, where women win and children are victims. The murderous wives escape punishment from their crime by consenting to the needs of an amorous coroner, Madgett. Throughout the film numbers from 1 to 100 are displayed in ascending order in some peculiar positions on the screen. A wonderful and surreal visual piece.
“When I first started to make films there was a shared feeling among underground filmmakers to make non-narrative cinema. [...] I used number and alphabet counts— universal systems as alternatives to the anecdotes of narration. It could produce arid results. However, I began to feel I was denying myself what I really wanted to do—which was to tell stories.” (P. Greenaway)
Peter Greenaway (born, 1942 in Newport, Wales, lives and works in Amsterdam) trained as a painter for four years, and started making his own films in 1966. He has continued to make cinema in a great variety of ways, which has also informed his curatorial work and the making of exhibitions and installations in Europe from the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice and the Joan Miro Gallery in Barcelona to the Boijmans van Beuningen Gallery in Rotterdam and the Louvre in Paris. He has made 12 feature films and some 50 short-films and documentaries, been regularly nominated for the Film Festival Competitions of Cannes, Venice and Berlin, published books, written opera librettos, and collaborated with composers Michael Nyman, Glen Branca, Wim Mertens, Jean-Baptiste Barriere, Philip Glass, Louis Andriessen, Borut Krzisnik and David Lang. His first narrative feature film, The Draughtsman's Contract, completed in 1982, received great critical acclaim and established him internationally as an original film maker, a reputation consolidated by the films, The Cook, the Thief, his Wife & her Lover, The Pillow Book, and The Tulse Luper Suitcases.
published in October 1988
English edition
21,5 x 18,5 cm (softcover)
128 pages (32 color ill.)
ISBN : 978-2-906-571-70-9
EAN : 9782906571709
in stock
Peter Greenaway: other titles

 top of page