SIFF 2018: Day Two – Letters and Numbers

If you’ve never seen a Peter Greenaway’s film, The Greenaway Alphabet might be a good introduction. Made by his wife Saskia Boddeke, it is set up as sort of a conversation between Peter and his teenaged daughter Pip, discussing topics in alphabetical order. Stylistically similar, it is interspersed with scenes from Greenaway’s films to further elucidate given points.

There are quite a few penises (and vulvae) which I find quite humorous. American audiences I think are a bit squeamish when it comes to male frontal nudity (Greenaway is Welsh, living in the Netherlands). I was reading the IMDb trivia for Call Me By Your Name last night, and one item said the American leads both had no frontal nudity clauses in their contracts, which frustrated the director. We see women all the time head to toe, but not men. I agree, more penises, please! Or less female nudity. Let’s be fair.

Afterward, we headed to the Egyptian for Daveed Diggs’ Blindspotting. Written and performed along with Rafael Casal, our friend summed it up as Les Mis with Diggs as Jean Valjean. This is a pretty good summation, as a significant portion of the film is delivered rap/spoken word. Set in Oakland with three days left in Diggs’ probation, it’s a study of gentrification, police violence, and relationships.

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