Systems on the verge of becoming birds: Peter Greenaway's early experimental films

Seung Hoon Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper sheds new light on Peter Greenaway's early films made in the 1970s as a remarkable seedbed of his later features. Reframing his experimental position accompanies two correlated registers that can be reexamined together: the then other avant-garde tendencies and the larger cultural context of poststructuralist and postmodern imagination. To link the former to the latter, the paper examines how the notion of 'suture' particularly worked in the Screen-theory-based experimental filmmaking and how Greenaway inspires us to expand and redefine it especially in ways of embodying Deleuzian ideas on any-space-whatever, automata, the virtual matrix of actual images, the plane of immanence of beings, etc. Analyzing seven films in two groups, this theoretical approach ultimately emphasizes what underlies Greenaway's apparently systematic cosmos: the system's becoming its own virtual chaos of non-system, which unfolds a creative disorder of post-apocalyptic, posthumous and post-human heterotopias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-187
Number of pages18
JournalNew Review of Film and Television Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Peter Greenaway
  • experimental film
  • suture
  • systems theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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