Film Studies Lecture 8 – The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

Peter Greenaway wrote and directed this film, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, in 1989.  It starred Richard Bohringer (the cook), Michael Gambon (the thief), Helen Mirren (his wife) and Alan Howard (her lover).

The film is based around a high-class French restaurant Le Hollandais, run by Bohringer, which has been taken over by Gambon.  He and his bunch of underworld associates dine at the restaurant every night, being obnoxious, abusive and generally disruptive, to the point of scaring away most the other customers.  

Helen Mirren and Michael Gambon

Shifty Shifty, Benjamin Franklin.

Mirran, forced to attend the restaurant with her offish husband, soon catches the eye of Alan Howard, a quiet bookshop owner and restaurant frequenter.  During their meals in the evening the couple have an affair, with the help of the kitchen staff, under Gambons nose.  Eventually however, he finds out and Mirren is forced to hide in Howard’s bookshop, where the dine on meals brought to them by one of the kitchen boys, a young soprano who is often tormented by Gambon.

However not everything goes to plan, as Gambon finds the boy returning from the bookshop and tortures him, before finding the location from a book the child was holding. Upon his discovery, he finds and kills Howard, by strangling him with pages from one of his books.

As revenge for the death of her lover, Mirren, with the help of Bohringer, cooks Alan Howard, and serves him as the main meal to Gambon, who is forced to take a bite of the prepared dish, before Mirren shoots him in the head, in front of all the people who Gambon has tormented throughout the film.

I hope they shaved him first.

Odd, strangely enthralling and quite repetitive as far as the music score goes, probably to signify the dull repetitive nature of Mirrans life.  I’m not even sure what I think about this film, it is nice to see the criminal get his just deserts, however throughout this film the audience is very aware that this is an arts film, designed and created to show off and be as far away from the norm as possible.  Now that I have stated that, I shall probably be emailed a true story about a similar thing, however I’m pretty sure that the chef would have lost his restaurant by cooking a human, as well as his freedom.

Not knowing ones feelings tends to confuse more than one issue, so I thought I would end this post with something I know works, Frank Zappa’s The Muffin Man.  Also, it is strangely appealing to listen to the Muffin Man whilst thinking about Michael Gambon.


About opinionatedalex

Less opinionated than one might think.
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2 Responses to Film Studies Lecture 8 – The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

  1. shamtest says:

    I can’t seem to properly browse this page from my smartphone!!!!

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