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February 1995, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
David Smith <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 23 Feb 1995 16:58:32 CST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Jesse Burden <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>The show of which I am speaking, _A T.V. Dante_, was shown on Channel 4
>(London) in the late 1980's. [...] Peter Greenaway's role in
>...was a collaboration with someone who also worked with him on _Prospero's
>Books._ It shared the visual layering style but had a much looser <ambiguous>
>mise-en-scene or narrative space. Sir John Guilgoud plays the main part (or he
>might have been Virgil) but the narrative shows the travels through the
>rings of hell, depicting some characters along the way.
I have been looking over a couple of Greenaway's books, one of his drawings
and the other the script and some notes on the making of _Prospero's Books_.
He is a visual artist in his mastery of drawing and in the nature of the ideas
that he develops for his films (at least some of which are inappropriate for
the medium of film, because they fight or eclipse the narration). In his films
he has achieved greatness as a visual artist, more so than in his drawings,
watercolors etc. which on the whole are sketches to be completed in the
films. I have seen on video P.'s Books (the best), The Cook etc (good, but not
the best) and Drowning By Numbers (insufferable). I think he is the most
original and daring director to come along in quite a while.
It sounds like Greenaway and his collaborator(s) were able to work out in
this_A T.V. Dante_ production some of the visual ideas used in Prospero's
Books. In his book of the script, Greenaway attributes the idea of doing
The Tempest to Gielgud -the proper spelling- so it is interesting to learn
of Gielgud's involvement in_A T.V. Dante_. This TV production as a kind
of rehearsal might also explain the sophistication of Prospero's Books
overall visual and temporal structure (in contrast to Greenaway's other,
less well-resolved filmic efforts). In any case I hope some of our other
subscribers may be able to contribute insights (or trivia, what-have-you)
into both -or any- Greenaway projects.
>The possibilities that it may suggest are available for the design of an
>interface for a CD-Rom seemed worthy of mention to someone interested in
>writing about this.
The visual treatments and effects pioneered by Greenaway could be used
for CD-ROM interfaces. I am more interested in using them to develop
personal computer operating system interfaces, which I find visually
primitive and boring (compared to what is routinely on ordinary network
TV and the basest Hollywood productions), and for interactive TV.
I am planning to publish a Web page by early April and, bandwidth
willing, I will essay to illustrate how Greenaway's concepts might be
adapted to this medium.