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Academy of European Film

Scene One: Postmodernism in the Peter Greenaway’s films.

A snake devouring its own tail… this is how people used to call postmodernism, in which they saw twilight of film art. About this trend said many, however in fact said nothing. It is a trend, attractive for movie experts’ as well average recipient, about which people expatiate and make considerations. Who is right? It seems that no one said the last word in this issue. Everyone is right but nobody is.

Postmodernism is a conglomeration of contradictions, ‘the bag concept’, containing within it everything – from cultural references, copies and quotations to other works of art, by the irrationality and kitsch, until the transparency of work, problems with perspective and ostentatious affectation. We can classify many things as ‘postmodernism’, everything you can inscribe in it. It is a trend of rebels, deviationists and freaks. It perfectly fits for the poetics of this year’s festival slogan… ‘Because everyone has a rebel inside’. Such rebellion is undoubtedly a determinant of post-modernism – the culture which originates of punk.

In the festival’s European Film Academy cycle postmodernism will be undertaken in the context of art work of Peter Greenaway ― one of the few artists who acquire a taste for this trend. He derives from paintings, which great example will be presented at the Academy, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, also from literature what we see in Drowning by Numbers, and also sometimes form architecture – what visual – The Belly of an Architect. These intertextual allusions are the provocation, the Persian eye toward the viewer, the game. The director, quoting himself, allows the recipient to multiple interpretations, decryption meaning codes, he encourages receiver to cooperation in creating his image.

European Film Academy targets on fulfilling the intentions of the British director, and asks the question… Is Peter Greenaway a classic? The numerous allusions to the works of masters of brush and a tendency to an ordered, we might hastily conclude that he is. Is he a rebel? His films are full of ugliness and rot, marriage sacred and profane, coexistence of what is high, with what is low. Are we able to give simple answer?

By Karolina Bednarek