The Greenaway Alphabet

The Greenaway Alphabet




Genre: Documentary
Netherlands, 2017, 70'
Directed by: Saskia Boddeke
Peter Greenaway constructs an alphabet for and with his daughter Zoë as a blueprint of his life. The fascinations of filmmaker Peter Greenaway, whose motto is “art is life and life is art”, are captured like butterflies and arranged in an alphabet, a form suiting him perfectly as an encyclopedist.


In intimate conversations with his perceptive 16-year-old daughter Zoë, we discover the ‘whos, whats and whys’ about Greenaway. They begin with A, which stands for Amsterdam, but could also stand for autism, Zoë suggests. Greenaway’s boundless creativity and unconstrained flow of words brings this to mind indeed, and he admits to wearing the label with pride. The playful conversations don’t shy away from painful topics; we hear that Greenaway hasn’t seen two other children of his for years. Later, heartbroken and in tears, Zoë asks him if for once to stop talking like a commentator. Zoë’s spontaneous questions penetrate Greenaway to the core, enabling his wife, multimedia artist Saskia Boddeke, to make a deeply personal portrait not only of the artist, but also of Greenaway the father in his battle against time.


 

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