Peter Greenaway
Pioneer of Cinema

Few directors have been as committed to articulating film as a medium distinct from other forms of drama and storytelling as Peter Greenaway. Working as filmmaker and visual artist, Greenaway has engaged with and drawn on various art forms, asking questions about the role of art within culture. Join us for a day of talks and discussion exploring this highly distinctive artist.


12.00 – Introduction

12.05 – William Fowler, curator BFI National Archive – ‘Greenaway’s Beginnings and Beginning with Greenaway’ (followed by audience questions)

12.45 – Josephine Botting, curator BFI National Archive – ‘In Pursuit of Arthouse Success: Greenaway and the BFI Production Board’ (followed by audience questions)

13.30 – Lunch

14.30 – Jeremy Clarke, film writer and journalist – ‘Numbers, Grids and Other Cataloguing Systems in Peter Greenaway’s Work’ (followed by audience questions)

15.10 – Victor Fraga, journalist, filmmaker and exhibitor – ‘Death and Sex: Peter Greenaway’s Inseparable Obsessions/Trademarks’ (followed by audience questions)

15.50 – Break

16.05 – Josephine Botting in conversation with John Wilson, Film Editor ACE

16.40 – Audience questions

17.00 – Finish


William Fowler is Curator of Artists’ Moving Image at the BFI National Archive where he acquires, restores and curates films. His projects have included Queer Pagan Punk: Derek Jarman, the biggest ever UK retrospective of Jarman’s films, and This Is Now: Film and Video After Punk which toured internationally in collaboration with artist moving image agency LUX. He is co-author of The Bodies Beneath: The Flipside of British Film and Television published by Strange Attractor Press in 2019.

Josephine Botting is a Fiction Curator at the BFI National Archive and author of Adrian Brunel and British Cinema of the 1920s, to be published in 2023.

Jeremy Clarke has been writing about movies in various UK print publications since the late 1980s as well as online in recent years. He’s excited by movies which provoke audiences, upset convention and make people think. He doesn’t buy the idea of mere entertainment – at the very least, if a movie doesn’t challenge the viewer in some way, it may simply confirm audience prejudices and bolster the status quo. Which seems pointless. He wants to be pushed, taken into new ways of seeing.

His writing on movies can be found at his website Jeremy C. Processing. His work also currently appears in Reform magazine and All the Anime and among others. Many of the magazines in which his work has appeared regularly are sadly now no longer with us, notably Films and Filming, What’s on in London, Manga Max (formerly Manga Mania), Home Entertainment, Starlog (UK edition), Top (the Tower Records magazine) and Third Way magazine.

He is a member of both FIPRESCI (the International Federation of Film Critics) and the London Critics Circle (Film Section), and serves on the committee for the latter’s annual Film Awards.

Victor Fraga is an Anglo-Brazilian journalist, filmmaker and exhibitor. Born in Brazil and based in London for 25 years, he is the founder and director of DMovies (aka Dirty Movies), the portal for thought-provoking cinema, one of the leading indie film publications in the UK since 2016. He has recently directed two films, The Coup d’Etat Factory and The Flour Test, showcased in festivals and cinemas on both sides of the Atlantic. Victor believes that cinema is a powerful transformational tool on a personal, social and also political level. This vision is reflected on DMovies and his films. Victor is also a film exhibitor: he organises screenings and events across the British capital, also through DMovies. In 2020, Victor interviewed Peter Greenaway for three hours as part of a tribute for Doesn’t Exist magazine.

John Wilson ACE: Cutting his teeth on documentaries, it was while working at the Central Office of Information that John met Peter Greenaway and began a long and fruitful collaboration which saw him editing many of Greenaway’s prolific output of music documentaries and arts programmes for television, as well as five feature films beginning with The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982) and culminating in the highly acclaimed The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989).

Now one of Britain’s leading film editors, John Wilson’s films include Billy Elliot (2000), which gained 13 BAFTA and three Oscar nominations including a BAFTA and an ACE Eddie nomination for Best Film Editing. Following this US nomination, John was invited to join American Cinema Editors (ACE). Other films include The History Boys (2006) The Book Thief (2013) and Me Before You (2016). He has also edited 13 episodes of Downton Abbey.

John’s most recent film Allelujah premiered at this year’s London Film Festival

A Zed & Two Noughts
Tue 18 Oct 18:10; Sat 5 Nov 17:40; Sat 12 Nov 17:40; Mon 21 Nov 20:40; Sun 27 Nov 12:15
Peter Greenaway: Frames of Mind Season Introduction
Wed 19 Oct 18:10
The Belly of an Architect
Wed 19 Oct 20:30; Fri 18 Nov 18:20; Tue 22 Nov 18:10; Sat 26 Nov 15:30
The Falls
Sat 22 Oct 13:50; Sun 6 Nov 14:40
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
Sun 23 Oct 15:30 (+ intro by Justin Johnson, Lead Programmer); Sat 12 Nov 14:55; Mon 28 Nov 17:50
Drowning by Numbers
Sun 23 Oct 18:00; Sat 19 Nov 14:30; Sun 27 Nov 18:00
Peter Greenaway Shorts Programme 1
Mon 24 Oct 18:10; Thu 10 Nov 20:40
Experimental Sound and Vision: Found Sounds, Lyrical Loops and Landscapes
Thu 27 Oct 18:15; Thu 17 Nov 18:15 (+ intro by author and musician David Toop)
Prospero’s Books
Tue 1 Nov 17:40; Sun 20 Nov 18:00
Peter Greenaway: Pioneer of Cinema
Sat 5 Nov 12:00-17:00
The Unreliable Narrator: Adventures in Storytelling, Documentary and Misinformation
Sun 6 Nov 12:40; Fri 25 Nov 21:00
A TV Dante: Cantos 1-8
Tue 15 Nov 18:20
The Baby of Mâcon
Wed 16 Nov 20:30; Fri 25 Nov 18:00; Mon 28 Nov 20:30
The Pillow Book
Fri 18 Nov 20:30; Thu 24 Nov 20:30; Tue 29 Nov 17:40
8½ Women
Sun 20 Nov 12:50; Wed 30 Nov 20:35

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email