The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.Andrew Johnston (critic) stated: "Most of Greenaway's signature visual devices (elaborate title cards, superimposed images) are employed here; but accompanied by U2 songs and traditional Asian music, instead of a Michael Nyman score, they seem fresher and more dynamic than before. The actors are required to submit completely to Greenaway's mechanics, but there isn't one bad performance. McGregor and Oida (as a venal publisher) are especially fine."
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