A Cock and Bull Story  

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A Cock and Bull Story is a 2006 British comedy directed by Michael Winterbottom. It is a film-within-a-film, with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing themselves in a faux documentary about the efforts of a British troupe to film Laurence Sterne's unfilmable classic The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.

Most of the film is devoted to the frame tale about the two competing actors. The parts of the novel that are covered by the film are limited to the story of Tristram's conception, birth and christening; Uncle Toby's experiences at the battle of Namur; Tristram's sudden and accidental circumcision at the age of three; and the concluding scene of the novel, wherein Yorick says "It is a story about a Cock and a Bull - and the best of its kind that ever I heard!"

Shandy is a narrator so easily distracted in relating his life story that by the end of the book he has not yet come to his own birth. The movie, similarly, is about the making of a film of Tristram Shandy, and the impossibility of that task. Moreover, it deals with the impossibility of capturing the complexity of life in a work of art, but the value of the attempt. Steve Coogan stars as himself and as Shandy. The film also marks the end of Winterbottom's lengthy collaboration with writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, who chose to be credited under the pseudonym Martin Hardy.

The music is Michael Nyman's original arrangement of George Frideric Handel's "Sarabande" and re-used recordings from The Draughtsman's Contract.

This film, and the novel from which it is adapted, are both examples of metafiction.

Contents

Plot

A Cock and Bull Story depicts Steve Coogan playing himself as an egotistical actor with low self esteem and a complicated love life. Coogan is playing the titular role in an adaptation of Tristram Shandy being filmed at a stately home. He constantly spars with actor Rob Brydon, who is playing Uncle Toby, and believes his role to be of equal importance to Coogan's, calling himself the "co-lead".

The film incorporates several sequences from the film-within-the-film of Tristram Shandy; these are limited to the story of Tristram's conception, birth and christening; Uncle Toby's experiences at the Battle of Namur; Tristram's sudden and accidental circumcision at the age of three; and the concluding scene of the novel, in which Yorick says "It is a story about a Cock and a Bull - and the best of its kind that ever I heard!"

Cast

Soundtrack

The film's soundtrack is notable for featuring numerous excerpts from Nino Rota's score for the Federico Fellini film , itself a self-reflexive work about the making of a film. Other non-diegetic musical references are made to Amarcord, The Draughtsman's Contract, Smiles of a Summer Night and Barry Lyndon. Michael Nyman, composer of The Draughtsman's Contract provides a new arrangement of the Handel Sarabande featured in the latter film, while the pre-existing tracks of The Draughtsman's Contract (the original soundtrack recordings—the score has been rerecorded numerous times) serve as a temp track to film of the Sterne material.

Locations

The film was recorded at a number of locations in England:

Reception

The film has received very positive reviews. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 122 reviews.

Home release

A Cock and Bull Story was released on both Region 1 and Region 2 DVD in July 2006.

The Trip

The fictionalised versions of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon seen in the film reappear as the central characters in Michael Winterbottom's 2010 BBC series The Trip.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "A Cock and Bull Story" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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