Tuesday, 20 December 2016

The Cook, The Theif, His Wife And Her Lover - Film Review

The Cook, The Theif, His Wife And Her Lover

Fig. 1 The Cook, The Theif, His Wife And Her Lover (film still)

Like the film 'Black Narcissus', colour symbolism is also used frequently throughout the set design of the film, adding to the mood of a certain character. Each room within the film is set in its own colour: the kitchen being green, the restaurant is red and the bathroom is solely white. Not only that, but Georgina's costumes also change with each room she enters.  Matching and blending in with her surroundings.
"Georgina’s clothes are color coded simultaneously within a single scene. The attention to detail is staggering. Even the color of her cigarettes changes when she moves from one room to the other." (The Cook, The Theif, His Wife and Her Lover,  
Fig 2. The Cook, The Theif, His Wife And Her Lover (film still)
The red restaurant is where most of the outbursts of anger happen from the character Albert Spica's (Georgina's brutal husband).Red is usually asscoited with "anger, passion, rage, desire, excitement, energy, speed, strength, power, heat, love, aggression, danger, fire, blood, war, violence." (Film Directing Tips, '12 Colors and Their Meanings' by Peter D. Marshall)

As well as the walls and furnishing being red they even use subtle ,red lighting across Albert's Face. Contributing to his anger and violence. However this room contrasts with the clean and white surfaces of the bathroom. Portraying a more peaceful and less stressful environment. This is one of the places where Georgina would secretly meet her new, lover Micheal. "WHITE – Yes, protection, love, reverence, purity, simplicity, cleanliness, peace, humility, precision, innocence, youth, birth, winter, snow, good, sterility, marriage (Western cultures), death (Eastern cultures), cold, clinical, sterile" (Film Directing Tips, '12 Colors and Their Meanings' by Peter D. Marshall) 

The green kitchen stays busy and chaotic. It is also another place where Georgina meets Micheal in secret. The kitchen staff help Georgina hide from her husband, whilst she engages in sexual activities with Micheal. The colour green has connatations associated with
"renewal" and "fertility." (Film Directing Tips, '12 Colors and Their Meanings' by Peter D. Marshall) 
"Renewal" in terms of her finding a new and stable lover,"fertility" - Georgina engaging in sexual activities.  
Interestingly the only person throughout the film whose clothes don't adjust to the environment is Georgina's lover, Micheal. Throughout the film Micheal is seen as "normal" and the "safe place" for Georgina to go to for a while."BROWN – materialistic, sensation, earth, home, outdoors, reliability, comfort, endurance, stability, simplicity." (Marshall n.d ) 
Unlike Georgina, his costume doesn't change with the environment he's in. His costume stays as an ordinary brown suite. Suggesting his lifestyle is not controlled by those around him and he's not trying to "blend in" or hide. 

Caryn James in the "New York Times" says: 

"But Mr. Greenaway turns this tale of a bullying criminal and his unfaithful wife into something profound and extremely rare: a work so intelligent and powerful that it evokes our best emotions and least civil impulses, so esthetically brilliant that it expands the boundaries of film itself." (James C, April 6, 1990)

This small attention to detail of colour thoughout the film, really get the audience to engage and "evoke the best emotion" from the film. Whats even better is that as an audience member you dont even realise the effect "colour" can have on your emotion.

Illustration List:
Figure 1. The Cook, The Theif, His Wife And Her Lover (poster art)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cook,_the_Thief,_His_Wife_%26_Her_Lover (accessed on 13 December)
Figure 2. The Cook, The Theif, His Wife And Her Lover (film still) https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=the+cook+the+thief+his+wife+and+her+lover&view=detailv2&&id=C0FF1738BD3B10A2DC01DD50A4E9283C8E636603&selectedIndex=132&ccid=lR%2bRMN2p&simid=608008512435914120&thid=OIP.M951f9130dda9c13844216884a2f79f1eo0&ajaxhist=0
(accessed on 13 December)


 (The Cook, The Theif, His Wife and Her Lover, https://asmarchitecture.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/the-cook-the-thief-his-wife-and-her-lover-use-of-color-as-a-metaphor-for-transformation/ (accessed on 13 December)

James C,  (April 6, 1990)  Article name In: New York Times [online] At: URL: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9C0CE4DE1F3DF935A35757C0A966958260
(accessed on 13 December)

Marshall PD (no date) Film Directing Tips, '12 Colors and Their Meanings'  In: Film Directing Tips [online] At: URL: http://filmdirectingtips.com/archives/157 (accessed on 13 December)