Prospero’s Books
Prospero’s Books

Prospero’s Books

Director Peter Greenaway

Production year 1991

Length 122min.

Country UK


Peter Greenaway’s the state-of-the-art production of Prospero’s Books offers a purely subjective take on The Tempest, as witnessed through the eyes of Prospero (John Gielgud, in one of his final roles). While textually challenging, the film is a visual pleasure, and is complimented beautifully by Michael Nyman’s soaring score. 


Peter Greenaway
Peter Greenaway



Masato Hara, Kees Kasander, Katsufumi Nakamura, Yoshinobu Namano, Denis Wigman, Roland Wigman


Peter Greenaway

Director of Photography

Sacha Vierny

Production designer

Ben van Os, Jan Roelfs

Music by

Michael Nyman


Mathew Knights, Chris Wyatt


Marina Bodbyl


John Gielgud, Michael Clark, Michel Blanc, Erland Josephson, Isabelle Pasco, Mark Rylance

Production company(ies)

Allarts, Cinéa, Caméra One, Penta Film

Peter Greenaway

After deciding at the age of 12 to become a painter, he entered the Walthamstow College of Art, where among his classmates was the future post-punk musician Ian Dury. By 1965, Greenaway had begun working as a film editor for the Central Office of Information, where within a year he started making his own experimental short features. Typical of his work of the period was 1966's Train, which featured footage of a steam-powered locomotive arriving at Waterloo Station recast as a mechanical ballet with a musique concrete score. The first of Greenaway's experimental short films to gain widespread distribution was 1969's seven-minute Intervals. He continued releasing work sporadically throughout the first half of the 1970s, ranging in length from 1974's four-minute Windows to 1976's 40-minute Goole by Numbers (an early hint of the fascination with numerology which would consume much of his later work). With 1978's A Walk through H and Vertical Features Remake, Greenaway first garnered festival notice, and with 1980's The Falls, a "documentary" set in the future, he made his long-awaited feature debut. The 1982 17th century drama The Draughtsman's Contract was his critical breakthrough, and the film launched him to the forefront of the global experimental film community.


The Falls (1980) The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982), A Zed & Two Noughts (1985), The Belly of An Architect (1987), Drowning by Numbers (1988), The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and her Lover (1989), Prospero’s Books (1991), The Baby of Mâcon (1993), The Pillow Book (1996), 8½ Women (1999), The Tulse Luper Suitcases: The Moab Story (2003), The Tulse Luper Suitcases: Antwerp (2003), The Tulse Luper Suitcases: Vaux to the Sea (2004), The Tulse Luper Suitcases From Sark to the Finish (2004), Nightwatching (2007), Goltzius and the Pelican Company (2012), Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2015).

FILMS 2016