Symbolism of Interiors in movie “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover”
Symbolism of Interiors
I reminisce about my student days at the School as continuous visits to the cinema. I was an avid cinephile; in fact, I even contemplated film studies. Hours spent in film discussion clubs and glued to the screen at “Mikro” cinema undoubtedly played a crucial role in my aesthetic education.
I remember a film whose plot was initially hazy for me, but after the screening, something lingered that wouldn’t let me stop thinking about it. The striking aesthetic impression left by the images of the film “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.”
The feeling of being an enthralled observer in tragic scenes of violence, where refined beauty, grandeur, and passion become the backdrop for the gravest crimes, attempting even to justify them. The restaurant, oversized and stunning (to this day, I imagine wanting to be its guest in the real world), serves as an allegory for society, a symbol of consumption from which, in one way or another, we cannot escape, where everyone has their place and role. Conflicts in the restaurant reflect social conflicts.
“The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover” – interiors full of meaning.
In the film “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover,” directed by Peter Greenaway, interiors play a significant role in conveying the film’s main themes, such as power, brutality, desire, and corruption. Here are a few key symbols associated with the interiors in this film:
Color symbolism: Different rooms are bathed in uniform colors, symbolizing various aspects of the relationships between characters. For instance, the kitchen is red, signifying violence and passion, while the restrooms are green, possibly representing betrayal and envy.
Symbol of power: The kitchen serves as the central space dominated by the titular chef and a site of brutal acts of violence. It symbolizes power, control, and the exploitation of others.
Symbol of betrayal and brutality: The restrooms, where acts of betrayal occur, symbolize corruption.
Symbol of intellect: The library, where the wife and her lover meet, acts as a counterpoint to the brutality of the rest of the restaurant. It is a symbolic place of intellect, love, and an escape from the cruelty of reality, although one cannot truly escape.
The interiors in “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover” are consciously designed to reinforce the film’s main themes and depict social and emotional disharmony among the characters.
The interiors in this film, created with a particular hyperrealism, are a visual shock, evoking desire and fear simultaneously.
For me, they exemplify a masterfully constructed plan, creating tension, drawing the viewer’s attention, and immersing them in the narrative. One can imagine that if designed in the real world, they would elicit admiration from customers.