Inspired by Shakespeare’s famous words, “If music be the food of love, play on,” The Food of Love, by Peter Greenaway, , is a story of amorous obsession set in Venice and London.
What happened to the boy Tadzio on the Venetian Lido beach in Thomas Mann’s and Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice?
“If music be the food of love, play on; give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die. Enough; no more: ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.” This could be the key to Tadzio’s possible story some 40 years later, for Tadzio, or someone very much like him, cannot relinquish the memory of a piece of music and all it meant for him. He becomes a violent blackmailer preying on sexual indiscretions, becoming wealthy enough to employ his own quartet of musicians to play him Vivaldi bassoon concertos on demand – in prison, in the courtroom, in the streets, in restaurants, swimming-pools, in his bedroom when he is making love to his mistress. He lives a lie as a macho functioning heterosexual because of his boyhood seduction by a Venetian bassoon player who played Vivaldi to accompany the thrilling destructive experience he obsessively and hopelessly attempts to recover. Recovery is an impossibility on every level. His attempts to relive the experience destroys him.
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