The Draughtsman's Contract by Peter Greenaway


Mr. Neville is contracted by Mrs. Herbert, the wife of a wealthy landowner, to produce a set of twelve drawings of her husband's estate, a contract which extends much further than either the purse or the sketchpad. The sketches themselves prove of an even greater significance than supposed upon the discovery of the body of Mr. Herbert.

The press about The Draughtsman's contract

"What we have here is a tantalizing puzzle, wrapped in eroticism and presented with the utmost elegance. I have never seen a film quite like it. The raw materials of this story could have been fashioned into a bawdy romp like TOM JONES. But the director has made a canny choice. Instead of showing us everything, and explaining everything, he gives us the clues and allows us to draw our own conclusions. His movie is like a crossword puzzle for the senses." - Roger Ebert ****
"Greenaway's 17th century is a place of ribald honesty as well as unfathomable mystery, and it revels in the spoken word. Of course this is non-genre, low-budget cinema, and some people will be irritated by its singlemindedness; but for others it's proof that wit can sometimes carry a film to places special effects just don't reach." - David Pirie, Time Out

"Best enjoyed as a sly piece of double bluff, a puzzle without a solution, an avant-garde hoax in the spirit of Dada and the surrealists." - Observer
"Astonishingly elegant… extraordinarily detailed… mind-bendingly rich. The Draughtsman's Contract is fun." - Vincent Canby, The New York Times

1982, 108 min

Credits The Draughtsman's contract

Directed and written by
Peter Greenaway

Produced by
David Payne

Music by
Michael Nyman

Cinematography by
Curtis Clark

Film Editing by
John Wilson

Casting By
Lucy Boulting

Art Direction by
Bob Ringwood

Costume Design by
Sue Blane

Anthony Higgins - R. Neville / Mr Neville
Janet Suzman - Virginia Herbert / Mrs Herbert

World Premiere
Venice Film Festival 2 october 1982