The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover

Following a tutorial from Claire Curneen, she noted that I was interested in exploring our relationship with eating, whether that be simply off of a plate or the ‘devouring of flesh’ as she put it. She advised me to watch a film directed by Peter Greenaway called, “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” a 1989 British drama/romance/comedy/arthouse film full of food porn, scenery porn and gorgeous symbolism.

The sets consisted solely of a gray back-alley, a green kitchen, a red dining room, a white women’s bathroom and a bookshop, in which the outfits of the characters would change colour to conform to their surroundings. Each scene is like an 18th century painting you could find in any museum, but whilst the imagery might seem romantic, the content of the scene is usually quite vulgar as the main antagonist Albert throws his weight around abusing, assaulting and undermining anyone in his path. Eventually, karma comes around and the rest of the cast get together to humiliate Albert, serving him up a plate of his wife’s illegitimate lover (whom Albert killed) roasted; just after taking a bite, Albert is shot in the head.

Below are a few screenshots of various scenes;


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