Friday 22 March 2019

Goltzius and the Pelican Company (18) - 'sex and depravity that ends up looking like an old Pet Shop Boys video'

Goltzius and the Pelican
Goltzius and the Pelican

George Byrne

Drama. Starring F Murray Abraham, Ramsey Nasr, Guilio Berruti, Vincent Riotta, Halina Reijn, Anne Louise Hassing. Directed by Peter Greenaway. Cert 18, showing exclusively at the IFI.


You'd probably be hard-pressed to make the argument that Michael Bay and Peter Greenaway are in any way kindred souls as directors, but you'd have to admit they know their target market and deliver what you'd expect.

Greenaway excels in arthouse esoterica, with nudity and sexual excess.  Things don't come any more esoteric or arthouse than Goltzius and the Pelican Company.

The second part of a planned trilogy about Dutch Masters, the movie details how 16th Century printer and engraver Hendrick Goltzius (ramsay Nasr) tried to persuade German nobleman the Margrave of Alsace (F Murray Abraham) to pay for an advanced printing press which would keep Goltzius and his troupe of workers in employment for years. Margrave has the hots for one of the company's actresses (Halina Reign) and agrees.

Naturally, the scenes all deal with sex and depravity, but the levels of pretension are laughable and the whole thing ends up looking like an old Pet Shop Boys video.


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