Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Draughtman's Contract

20.30 17.06.2007.I watched the Peter Greenaway's the Draughtsman's Contract this afternoon but decided against the Director's version in order to stretch my ability to experience and objectively review. It is the kind of film where unprepared the average multiplex audience will walk out from, especially those accustomed to explicit human behaviour. The film is set at the end of 17th century England with formal social language which is maintained during the most intimate of exchanges and the location a country house with gardens and estate occupied by a ménage of head, his wife their daughter and son in law, his wife former sweetheart and one other.

The husband leaves for two weeks during which the draughtsman is contracted to make twelve accurate drawings of the house and grounds and he makes the condition of being able to enjoy the sexual favours of her ladyship as he chooses. This is reference to the legal position of wives who were treated as no different from other possessions as belonging to the Master, little different from the position of servants.

Later the contract is expanded at the request of the daughter as a means of getting back at her inadequate husband. While the draughtsman appears to be control of the situation alienating the menfolk, by insisting on restricting movements during drawing sessions, getting servants to move furniture, and commanding the females, it is the females who are actually in control. The situation explodes when the household head returns and then is found dead. The film concludes when making a return to the ménage, the draughtsman is turned upon and is punished.

21.30 Watching the film it occurred this was a Big Brother House in costume with the late arrival to the group and his subsequent reintroduction with horrific consequences of one new housemate, Big Brother meets Lord of the Flies. The contrast between the two living "installations" is in the level and form of communication. Despite the two ladies finding themselves the plaything of men, they retain integrity, and unlike the popular perception of the master pupil relationship they debate with their men in an educated and sophisticated manner.

21.50. The combination tonight of fresh pineapple with naturally sweet strawberries was delicious and pigged later with a raspberry trifle. There was white crab meat salad for lunch and pancakes. If I work late tonight there will be fresh Ciabatta with Sunflower spread without a filling. Recent rain has caused havoc with the plants and some look as if they are perishing. The rain held off during the day but more is forecast. I am 19th June. The Ciabatta was as good as I hoped it would be

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