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The Greenaway Alphabet

Saskia Boddeke
Netherlands 2017 / 68’
Sanju Zazie in the Subway

Little dickens is a rascal. Meanwhile, a little Dickens can be associated with as much Dickens as you could handle, which, in Saskia Boddeke's documentary, is provided by 16-year-old Pip (in reality Zoë Greenaway), who is entering adulthood during the course of conversations with her father. So, in a nutshell, a Bildungsroman, except in the guise of her asking her father questions from the alphabet of creative philosophy? Has the master artist himself fallen into the trap of classification? This guide for young people through Greenaway's ever-expanding universe could suggest such an interpretation if not for the lightheartedness of the story, which is filled with arranged conversations between father and daughter, sharing their passion for art, views on creativity and a drawing lesson. She keeps it with her in times of crisis. Then he gets a reprimand: Dad, please turn off the director's commentary. Accustomed to the British director's films, we will search for intertextual games, recognizing in Greenaway Abel Magwitch dressed up as an astonishing Miss Havisham. Unnecessarily. The film is a warm chat about the director's husband, shown from a teenager's perspective, closer to Michaël Dudok de Wit's Father and Daughter than Greenaway's Drowning by Numbers. It couldn't be otherwise. Pip refutes his arguments perfectly.

Maciej Stasiowski

Saskia Boddeke

Saskia Boddeke is a Dutch theater director, multimedia artist and creator of immersive video installations (including The Children of Uranium at the Museum of Modern Art in Genoa, 2005), part of which premiered on the Second Life Grid virtual platform. In her performances, which are played out in an augmented reality, actors perform opposite animated avatars. Together with her husband, Peter Greenaway (the author of the librettos), she wrote the acclaimed operas Rosa: a horse drama (1993, 1996) and Writing to Vermeer (1999). Polish audiences will certainly remember their joint performance prepared for the opening of the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw in 2010, The Big Bang.


1996 Rosa, a Horse drama (co-dir.)

2016 Shchukin, Matisse, Dance and Music (co-dir.)

2017 Down the Volga - A Rivermovie

2017 Alfabet Greenawaya / The Greenaway Alphabet

Cast & Crew

director Saskia Boddeke
screenplay Saskia Boddeke
cinematography Ruzbeh Babol, Sander Snoep, Saskia Boddeke
editing Gys Zevenbergen
music Luca D'Alberto, Borut Krzisnik
cast Peter Greenaway, Zoë “Pip” Greenaway, Saskia Boddeke
producer Julia Emmering
production Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid
language English
colouration colour