Peter Greenaway

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Peter Greenaway, CBE (born 5 April 1942, Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales[1]) is a British film director. He is currently professor of cinema studies at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.


Early life

Peter Greenaway's family left South Wales when he was three years old (they had moved there originally to avoid the Blitz) and settled in Essex, England. He attended Forest School in North-East London. At an early age Greenaway decided on becoming a painter. He became interested in European cinema, focusing first on the films of Bergman, and then on the French nouvelle vague film-makers such as Godard, and most especially, Resnais.

Work in film and the arts

In 1962 Greenaway began studies at Walthamstow College of Art, where a fellow student was musician Ian Dury (later cast in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover). Greenaway trained as a muralist for three years; he made his first film, Death of Sentiment, a churchyard furniture essay filmed in four large London cemeteries. In 1965, he joined the Central Office of Information (COI), working there fifteen years as a film editor and director. In that time he created a filmography of experimental films, starting with Train (1966), footage of the last steam trains at Waterloo station, (situated behind the COI), edited to a musique concrète composition. Tree (1966), is a homage to the embattled tree growing in concrete outside the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank in London. By the 1970s he was confident and ambitious and made Vertical Features Remake and A Walk Through H. The former is an examination of variations of arithmetical editing structure, and the latter is a journey through the maps of a fictitious country.

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