Wednesday, 6 July 2011

H is for House by Peter Greenaway 1976

I was watching the shorts by Greenaway, his early works, and "H is for House" caught my attention, specifically how the narrator enumerates things that start with H: hesitation, hopelessness, hitchcock, hybrid, havana cigars, handle, hoover... Shot in the English countryside, thus the serene atmosphere.

I tried to research further what was the implications of the enumeration, as I am interested in what Greenaway will have to say about indoors and outdoors and houses in general... I learned the following from Greenaway's official website. (

Greenaway on H is for House:
"I'd just married and had a small kid, and we used to spend our holidays in Wardour; we stayed in a magnificent early 19th century house belonging to a friend. It was the most extraordinary area of idealized, romanticized English landscape, very redolent of Roman Catholic history; all sorts of violent tragedies had happened there during the English Civil Wars. It was a rather shutaway countryside, so it had a sense of great drama and romance - in response to which, I made a series of films, of which this is the first. It was couched in the whole business of naming things - as in the late paintings of Magritte, the confusion between nomenclature, ascribing meanings and words... I made this enormous list of every single thing I could find in the domestic rural landscape that began the the letter H, which when juxtaposed gave you all sorts of interesting connotations. My daughter Hannah was learning the alphabet and her voice is on the soundtrack repeating and getting things wrong - the wisdom of the innocent. It was also very much to do with concepts of Heaven and Hell and how those are interchangeable."

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