8½ Women

8 12 Women is a 1999 comedy-drama film written and directed by Peter Greenaway and starring John Standing, Matthew Delamere, and Vivian Wu. An international co-production of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Germany, it was entered into the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

8 12 Women
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Greenaway
Produced byKees Kasander
Written byPeter Greenaway
Music byFrank Loesser
Giuseppe Verdi
CinematographyReinier van Brummelen
Sacha Vierny
Edited byElmer Leupen
Distributed byLions Gate Films
Release date
  • 22 May 1999 (1999-05-22) (Cannes)
  • 10 December 1999 (1999-12-10) (United Kingdom)
  • 6 January 2000 (2000-01-06) (Netherlands)
  • 26 May 2000 (2000-05-26) (United States)
Running time
118 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$424,123[1]


After the death of his wife Amelia, wealthy businessman Philip Emmenthal (John Standing) and his son Storey (Matthew Delamere) open their own private harem in their family residence in Geneva. They get the idea while watching Federico Fellini's 8 12 and after Storey is "given" a woman, Simato (Shizuka Inoh), to waive her pachinko debts. They sign one-year contracts with eight (and a half) women to this effect.

The women each have a gimmick (one is a nun, another a kabuki performer, etc.). Philip soon becomes dominated by his favorite of the concubines, Palmira (Polly Walker), who has no interest in Storey as a lover, despite what their contract might stipulate. Philip dies, the concubines' contracts expire, and Storey is left alone with Giulietta (the titular "12") and of course the money and the houses.

While the film deals with and graphically describes diverse sexual acts in conversation, the film does not feature any sex scenes as such.



8 12 Women received mixed to negative reviews. As of November 2019 it holds a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes,[3] and 36/100 (an average of critics' reviews) on Metacritic, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4]

The film opened at the box office at #50 with $92,000[5] and grossed $424,123 domestically.[1]


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