Death in the Seine

(Peter Greenaway, UK, 1988)


French historian Michel Foucault once assembled a book called The Life of Infamous Men – a chronicle of ordinary citizens whose only testament was a few words in official documents.

Death In the Seine performs a similar task for some of the four hundred people who, between 1795 and 1801, drowned in the Seine under mysterious circumstances.

As a film and video artist, Peter Greenaway (Belly of an Architect [1987]) is nothing if not consistent. His themes are always the same – entropy, decay, death – as is his style: measured, cool and systematic to the point of perversity.

However, this work, using the advanced video techniques of A TV Dante (1989) and Prospero’s Books (1991), is a must for any Greenaway devotee.

MORE Greenaway: The Pillow Book, A Zed and Two Noughts

© Adrian Martin 1991

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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