The Principles of Lust

The Principles of Lust is a 2003 British drama film directed by Penny Woolcock based on the (unpublished)[1] novel 'The Zero-Sum Game' by Tim Cooke.[2]

The Principles of Lust
Directed byPenny Woolcock
Produced byMadonna Baptiste
Written byPenny Woolcock
StarringAlec Newman
Marc Warren
Sienna Guillory
Julian Barratt
CinematographyGraham Smith
Edited byBrand Thumim
Release date
29 January 2003 (2003-01-29)
CountryUnited Kingdom



The Principles of Lust is a film is directed by Penny Woolcock.

The story is about a man who must choose between a settled domestic life and wilder nights in.

The main character is Paul (Alec Newman), who is a struggling writer who starts a relationship with Juliette (Sienna Guillory).

The opening scene shows Paul narrating in his room that his life is not turning out the way he wants it to. He continues his narration whilst driving his beat up car to a meeting at an art gallery. On his journey he is involved in a collision with another vehicle. The initial reaction of the other driver is to scream and shout and infer that the accident was his fault. Soon after the other driver apologises to him and informs him that his own car is not insured. The two strike up a friendship and, having introduced himself as Billy (Marc Warren) he offers to buy Paul a drink in a local pub.

They are accompanied to the pub by Hole (Lara Clifton) who is a striptease performer. When Hole has finished her erotic performance Billy takes his new friend into a back room of the pub. It transpires that Billy and his mates live a life that is a long string of drugs, sex, and violence.

The film then moves to the art gallery where Paul was meant to be meeting someone else and it then veers between life with Juliette and her son, and the debauched excesses of Billy and Hole.

The Principles of Lust is adapted from a novel by Tim Cooke, and was screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival.


The Principles of Lust premiered 29 January 2003 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. It was released on DVD 26 July 2004.


  1. ^ "Tim Cooke - CommaPress". Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  2. ^ Jonathon, Romney (14 March 2004). "The Principles of Lust". The Independent.

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