UK, 1982 (MIFF 1983)

Director: Peter Greenaway

A beautifully written and acted drama and yet a highly intellectual film, The Draughtsman's Contract combines the English tradition of film making with a murder story set in the 1690's.

At the end of the seventeenth century a time of peace and imperial consolidation lay ahead of England, and the gentry now would build grand mansions , plant parks and gardens, and patronise the Arts—then employ painters to record its wealth and possessions.

Visiting the large estate of Mr. Herbert, at Compton Anstey, the young draughtsman, Mr. Neville, is persuaded to sign a contract which offers him the freedom of Mrs. Herbert's person for the prize of twelve drawings of house and gardens. His obsession with detail and truthfulness soon leads him deep into a domestic intrigue which makes him look suspect in more than one sense.

See also...

Act of God

An investigation of lightning as an arbitrary intervention in people's lives with devastating consequences. ... More »

Making A Splash

Currently involved in filming the long awaited follow-up to The Draughtsman's Contract, Greenaway has been filling more commissions than he could handle. After the Channel Four series 4 American Compo... More »

Water Wrackets

A commentary on a Tolkienesque civilisation evoked by stunning and mystical lakeland imagery. ... More »


“Sex, lies and draughtsmanship.” - Guardian ... Still one of Greenaway's best films to date, The Draughtsman's Contract (MIFF 83) delves into the twisted hedonism and rhetoric of 17th century aristocr... More »


Peter Greenaway (born 1 942) may well be the most original talent unearthed by the cinema in many years. His short films have been the subject of considerable, often infuriated debate. In them he has ... More »


"An outrageously unconventional and deliriously profane biopic … this irreverent, yet meticulously researched passion project should catch even cinephiles by surprise." – Variety ... In Eisenstein in ... More »

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