Prospero's Books

Synopsis: An exiled magician finds an opportunity for revenge against his enemies muted when his daughter and the son of his chief enemy fall in love in this uniquely structured retelling of the 'The Tempest'.
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Director(s): Peter Greenaway
Production: NHK
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
124 min

Knowing I lov'd my books,

he furnish'd me from mine own library

with volumes that I prize

above my dukedom.

A Book of Water

This is a waterproof-covered book

which has lost its colour

by much contact with water.

It is full of investigative drawings

and exploratory text

written on many different

thicknesses of paper.

There are drawings of every

conceivable watery association

seas, tempests, streams, canals,

shipwrecks, floods and tears.

As the pages are turned,

there are rippling waves

and slanting storms.

Rivers and cataracts flow and bubble.

Plans of hydraulic machinery

and maps of weather-forecasting

flicker with arrows,

symbols and agitated diagrams.

The drawings are all made

by the same hand,

bounded into a book

by the King of France at Ambois

and bought by the Milanese Dukes

to give to Prospero

as a wedding present.

B o a t s w a i n ! B o a t s w a i n !

B o a t s w a i n !

Boatswain! Boatswain!








Here, master; what cheer?

Here, master; what cheer?

Good! Speak to th' mariners;

Good! Speak to th' mariners;

fall to't yarely,

or we run ourselves aground;

fall to't yarely,

or we run ourselves aground;

Down with the topmast

bestir, bestir

Yare, lower, lower!

bestir, bestir

Bring her to try wi' th' maincourse.

A plague upon this howling!

They are louder

than the weather or our office.

Yet again! What do you here?

Shall we give o'er, and drown?

Have you a mind to sink?

A pox o' your throat, you bawling,

blasphemous, incharitable dog!

Work you, then.

Hang, cur;hang,

we are less afraid to be

drown'd than thou art.

Methinks he hath no drowning

mark upon him;

his complexion is perfect gallows

fall to't yarely,

or we run ourselves aground.

bestir, bestir

Heigh, my hearts!

cheerly, cheerly, my hearts!

Take in the topsail.

Tend to th' master's whistle.

Blow till thou burst thy wind,

if room enough.

Bound in a gold cloth and very heavy,

this book has some eighty

shining mirrored pages;

some opaque, some translucent,

some manufactured with silvered papers,

some covered in a film of mercury

that will roll off the page unless treated cautiously.

Some mirrors simply reflect the reader,

some reflect the reader as he will be in a year's time,

as he would be if he were a child, a monster, or an angel.

Where is the master, boson?

Do you not hear him?

You mar our labour;

keep your cabins;

you do assist the storm.

What cares these roarers for the name of king?

To cabin! silence! Trouble us not.

Good, yet remember whom thou hast aboard.

None that I more love than myself.

If you can command these elements to silence,

and work the peace of the present,

we will not hand a rope more.

Use your authority;

if you cannot,

give thanks you have liv'd so long,

and make yourself ready in your cabin

for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap.

Out of our way, I say.

Take in the topsail. Tend

to th' master's whistle.

Cheerly, good hearts!

bestir, bestir

Heigh, my hearts!

Trouble us not.

Methinks he hath no drowning mark upon him;

his complexion is perfect gallows.

All lost! to prayers, to prayers!

- What, must our mouths be cold?

...we run ourselves aground;

- Tend to th' master's whistle.

We split, we split, we split!

3. A Memoria Technica called

Architecture and Other Music

When the pages are opened in this book,

plans and diagrams

spring up fully-formed.

There are definitive models of buildings

constantly shaded by moving cloud-shadow.

lights flicker in nocturnal urban landscapes

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    "Prospero's Books" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 25 Jun 2021. <'s_books_16319>.

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