Newly remastered in 4K by the BFI National Archive, The Draughtsman’s Contract is Peter Greenaway’s masterpiece. Set in a richly exaggerated 17th-century England, this witty, stylized, erotic country house murder mystery catapulted Greenaway to the forefront of international art cinema. Adorned with intricate wordplay, extravagant costumes and opulent photography, Greenaway’s first narrative feature weaves a labyrinthine mystery around the maxim “draw what you see, not what you know.” An aristocratic wife (Janet Suzman) commissions a young, cocksure draughtsman (Anthony Higgins) to sketch her husband’s property while he is away—in exchange for a fee, room and board, and one sexual favor for each of the twelve drawings. As the draughtsman becomes more entrenched in the devious schemings in this seemingly idyllic country home, curious details emerge in his drawings that may reveal a murder. Bolstered by a mesmerizing score by then-newcomer Michael Nyman and stunning cinematography by Curtis Clark, The Draughtsman’s Contract is a luscious cinematic banquet for eye, ear and mind.
• Peter Greenaway commentary and video introduction (10 minutes)
• Four deleted scenes (10 minutes)
• Behind-the-scenes footage and on-set interviews (10 minutes)
• Interview with composer Michael Nyman (7 minutes)
• Greenaway Short Films: Intervals (1969, 6 minutes), Windows (1974, 4 minutes), Dear Phone (1976, 17 minutes), Water Wrackets (1978, 11 minutes)
• Re-release trailer