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Prospero’s Books * Peter Greenaway * 1991

For a long time I thought that my all-time favorite film was not available on DVD, while all other Greenaway films are being released on DVD. While discussing something completely different, I noticed that the local library has “Kalverliefde” DVD sets which have winners of the Filmfestival Rotterdam since the beginning. One box contains short films, another five long films on three DVDs with… the 1991 winner “Propero’s Books”!! For those of you who don’t know the film, it is an impressive load of images, music, speech, symbolism and information. The film is based on “The Tempest” by Shakespeare, but only the text of the wizard Prospero seems to be from this play. For the rest this is Greenaway’s most bombastic film with long shots, picture in picture, elements going right through eachother, naked ballet-dancers, odd characters, weird colours and strange stages. Overwhelming, strange and hard to follow, but I totally adore this magnificent ‘art film’ which is unlike anything you ever saw. The “Kalverliefde” boxes are expensive, but I hope a DVD with only this film will be released some time too. For the time being, I am happy with the library copy.

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