Drowning by Numbers (1988)

Drowning by Numbers (1988), written and directed by Peter Greenaway.

Three women (related, with the same name) drown their husbands. The reluctant but amiable coroner helps with the cover-up, hoping for a little affection from any or all of them. He should have gotten payment in advance. This is actor Bernard Hill: Hail, Theoden King.

Art films can be a chore. At least Peter Greenaway inserts humor, employs his painterly visual imagination, and often uses the lovely chamber music of Michael Nyman.

The gimmick this time is an assortment of made-up, mostly comical games, and incessant counting of just about everything. Some Biblical allusions, but I'm not sure to what end. Both funny and morbid.

Quite a bit of nudity. I've seen Juliet Stevenson and Joely Richardson in other films and it's startling to see them bare here. The men, as usual, should keep their clothes on.

The PAL DVD has no subtitles and I couldn't follow much of the dialogue. Memo for next time: get the text SRT subtitles available online (http://www.opensubtitles.org/), adjust the time codes (with http://www.aegisub.org/) and mux up a new version.

The AR is 1.66, slightly letterboxed on the 4:3 DVD. Quality is poor, particularly in the nighttime scenes, which show vertical banding. It's available on NTSC DVD, but I'm not seeing any praise for the image.