Death in the Seine 1989
44min | Short, Drama, History | TV Short 7 April 1991
I’m really sorry but I don’t want to make screenshot from the movie. The subject is too far away from me.
Historical drownings in the Seine are catalogued, dissected and elaborated, with multilayered visuals and ‘documentary’ asides.
The remarkable Greenaway is most successful when his scope is constrained and most intriguing when he works in the large. This is a small work, and lovely.
A number of drowning victims are described from the coroner’s notes and exquisitely photographed. If viewing nude corpses bothers you, this might not be your thing. But remembrances of these people are frangible, just as we will be remembered or not.
The period is right after the French Revolution where a new calendar was briefly used. As the calendar became obsolete, the time of their endlives and deaths can be said to not exist. This allowed Greenaway to bring their past lives back into `real’ history.
The views of their bodies are so evocative that perhaps we give them a richer existence than they ever knew themselves.
As this is a video production, Greenaway can afford complex visual overlayering. Also, as this is contemporaneous with `Drowning by Numbers’ one wonders about the linkages. Enriches both films.