The Draughtsman’s Contract
Director: Peter Greenaway Run Time: 103 min. Format: DCP Release Year: 1982
Starring: Anne-Louise Lambert, Anthony Higgins, Hugh Fraser, Janet Suzman
Set in a richly exaggerated 17th-century England, Peter Greenaway’s witty, stylized, erotic country house murder mystery catapulted him to the forefront of international art cinema. Adorned with intricate wordplay, extravagant costumes, and opulent photography, Greenaway’s first narrative feature weaves a labyrinthine mystery around the maxim ‘draw what you see, not what you know.’ An aristocratic wife (Suzman) commissions a young, cocksure draughtsman (Higgins) to sketch her husband’s property while he is away—in exchange for a fee, room and board, and one sexual favor for each of the twelve drawings. As the draughtsman becomes more entrenched in the devious schemings in this seemingly idyllic country home, curious details emerge in his drawings that may reveal a murder. – Zeitgeist Films
Newly remastered in 4K by the BFI National Archive.
“Astonishingly elegant…extraordinarily detailed…mind-bendingly rich. The Draughtsman’s Contract is fun.” – Vincent Canby, The New York Times
“The Draughtsman’s Contract proclaimed the arrival of Peter Greenaway with a blast on the Baroque Trumpet. Few directors can have contrived so piercing an annunciation of their talent…his masterpiece.” – The Independent (UK)