NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 07:  Ari Aster attends the Film at Lincoln Center 2020 Annual Luncheon at Lincoln Ristorante on January 07, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
The Unrated Movie That
Ari Aster 'Regretted Watching' And Helped Inspire Hereditary
Ari Aster’s work is heavily influenced by the works of others, and "Hereditary" showcases these influences throughout. While there might not be any direct visual mimicry of Peter Greenaway’s "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover” in "Hereditary," Aster undeniably uses many of the techniques Greenway is known for and establishes a very similar tone.
Greenaway’s "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover” includes violence against women, child abuse, torture, and even cannibalism, earning it the questionable "Unrated" label. While the movie is very graphic, it isn't some gross-out gore-fest — there is undeniable artistic merit to Greenaway's film.
Peter Greenaway's background in painting gave him a firm belief that the visual element of filmmaking was all-important, so throughout "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover," characters’ clothes change color with the help of lighting trickery. Star Helen Mirren called it “crazily artificial," a sentiment that Ari Aster echoed.
Aster saw “The Cook” at a young age and became haunted by its imagery, stating, "I regretted watching it for many years. There's something so upsetting to me about the level of artifice in this film, from Sacha Vierny's cinematography to Jean-Paul Gaultier's costumes. What you're left with is Greenaway's wholesale disgust with the human race."
Aster emphasizes the color orange in “Hereditary” as a way of representing evil, and he follows the principle of visual signposting and symbolism with the recurring sigil of the demon Paimon, showing inspiration from Greenaway. But more than anything, it seems Aster was struck by the way “The Cook” disturbed him for so long, so he sought to create that effect in his films.