A Zed & Two Noughts

  • 1985
  • 1 HR 55 MIN
  • NR
  • Drama

A surreal, stylish, symbolic but obscure film from Greenaway, the director of THE DRAUGHTSMAN'S CONTRACT (1983). It begins with a strange auto accident: the wives of twin scientists who work for a zoo are killed when a swan crashes into the car in which they are passengers. Their husbands, Brian and Eric Deacon, are overcome with a sense of loss and immerse...read more

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A surreal, stylish, symbolic but obscure film from Greenaway, the director of THE DRAUGHTSMAN'S CONTRACT (1983). It begins with a strange auto accident: the wives of twin scientists who work for a zoo are killed when a swan crashes into the car in which they are passengers. Their husbands,

Brian and Eric Deacon, are overcome with a sense of loss and immerse themselves in a search for life's meaning, looking for answers in man's relations with the animal kingdom and his place within it. The Deacons become obsessed with the process of decay, using time-lapse photography to study

physical deterioration in a variety of animals. At the same time, they plan the release of the zoo's population. The brothers also become involved in a menage a trois with Ferreol, who gives birth to twins, their sons. She has, meantime, had her remaining leg amputated at the prompting of Thoolen,

a demented surgeon bent on turning her into the flesh-and-blood realization of a Jan Vermeer painting. Later, she becomes involved with the mysterious Kahler, another double amputee, and names him as her sons' legal father before dying. The Deacons carry their experiments to their

logical-illogical conclusion, activating a camera and committing joint suicide before it. Neither Greenaway's story nor his characters are particularly involving, and while his ontological concerns are intriguing, they are presented so dispassionately that they become trivialized. After musing

along with him for 115 minutes on the nature and order of existence, we are unmoved by the brothers' suicide, surely a sign that something is missing with the film. Just the same, A ZED & TWO NOUGHTS (British for the letters that spell zoo) is a visual tour de force, and Greenaway demonstrates

again the painterly mastery of lighting and composition that was so evident in his earlier movie. Few viewers, however, will find this enough to make this a satisfying picture.

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  • Released: 1985
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A surreal, stylish, symbolic but obscure film from Greenaway, the director of THE DRAUGHTSMAN'S CONTRACT (1983). It begins with a strange auto accident: the wives of twin scientists who work for a zoo are killed when a swan crashes into the car in which th… (more)

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