The Cook The Thief His Wife Essay

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The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, Essay, Research Paper Peter Greenaway s controversial film, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover deals with infidelity, gluttony, and an insatiable desire for appetite. Through these elements, characters are brought to power as well as condemned to humility. This movie uses Charles Bressler s idea of the objective co-relative and the way that it is used to imply an emotion or thought that a character is maintaining and brings it to the reader in a subtle manner. Also, Timothy Corrigan s idea of mise-en-sc ne is used. This concept deals with the little elements of a film (lighting, costume, props, etc.) that when are either exaggerated and/or put together with another element of the film, reveal an implied theme or though much like the

previous concept. Through these literary and cinematic ideas, the movie can be easily taken apart piece by piece. In the scene where The Thief, Albert Spica, is looking for His Wife, Georgina, there is an element of mise-en-sc ne that occurs. When Albert Spica finds out from his friend s girlfriend Patricia that Georgina has been sleeping around with Michael, he goes mad and in a fit of rage, searches for her, destroying whatever comes in his path. He begins first at the bathroom. This is where the distrust between Albert and Georgina was first initiated and this is the first place he enters. When he enters the women s restroom, you can see red light coming from the dining room, peering through the now open door, which is cast on the second stall. This ironically, was the very

stall that Georgina and Michael first had sexual relations. The red light points to the stall in a way that through mise-en-sc ne makes the reader connect this with Georgiana s unsatisfied craving for lust. The color red floods the room after Albert finishes his rampage. This is to imply that the once pure-white bathroom is now spoiled with sin. Albert next moves to the kitchen where Richard and he share a brief conversation. Richard, always keeping a cool head, gently talks to the maddened Albert. Throughout the conversation, Albert is violently scouring the kitchen, destroying food and dinnerware. This however does not move Richard. During this fiasco, Richard runs outside to fetch a truck that will eventually transport Georgina and Michael to a safe house. As Richard runs to

the van, we see a wide shot of him approaching and as he is running from the kitchen, we can see that behind him, the kitchen, like the bathroom, is overflowing with the color red. Albert s rage is seemingly following him. There is a part in the scene when Richard screams, “I ll kill that bloody book-reading jerk! I ll kill him and I ll bloody eat him!” (Greenaway 66) During this part of the scene he holds two props – a carving fork and carving knife. While he says these words, he also imitates a cutting and eating motion. As he does this, there is yet another overflowing of red in the backdrop. This image seems to parallel with a devil figure and the fork and knife seem to parallel with a devil s pitchfork. In this way, the filmmaker, Greenaway is using mise-en-sc ne to

try and imply that Albert is the devil. As Georgina and Michael escape in the rotten meat truck, again you see the element of red. The blood from the meat and grime give the truck a red tinge. This implies that even though Albert is not present physically, his evil rage is surrounding them. In this same scene, T.S. Eliot s element of the objective co-relative is exemplified. When Albert meets Richard in the kitchen, the following dialogue forms: ALBERT: You! Where is she? Where is my wife? RICHARD: What s the matter Mr Spica? ALBERT: You bloody know what s the matter where s my wife? You know where she is! RICHARD: Your wife is your affair, Mr Spica. This is not a lost property office. ALBERT: Where is she Borst? Where is my wife?! (Greenaway 65) When Richard says sarcastically,