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Vertical Features Remake (1978)

| 1978 (UK)
Tongue-in-cheek, early Greenaway short reflects the incredibly meticulous encyclopedic nature of his early films. An attempt is made to "reconstruct" a proposed, but never made, film ... See full summary »

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Tongue-in-cheek, early Greenaway short reflects the incredibly meticulous encyclopedic nature of his early films. An attempt is made to "reconstruct" a proposed, but never made, film according to some reasonably vague directions. The attempt is made over and over because of conflicting interpretations of the instructions. Written by Mark Toscano <fiddybop@uclink4.berkeley.edu>

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1978 (UK)  »

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Rekonstrukcja pionowych obiektów  »

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"The Institute of Restoration and Reclamation would like to acknowledge the assistance of Donald Lazenby, Cedric Pheasant and Ian MacMorrin in the making of this film". Continuing the film, an imaginary organization thanks imaginary people. See more »

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Referenced in Peter Greenaway in Indianapolis (1997) See more »

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Greenaway just vaulted himself into my favorite directors
1 July 2008 | by (Denver, CO) – See all my reviews

"Vertical Features Remake" (1978, Peter Greenaway) Haha, oh my god, Peter Greenaway just vaulted into my favorite directors.

"Vertical Features Remake", a 42-minute extra on the DVD for a film I'm watching directly after this called "The Falls", brings to mind such classic faux-sorta-documentaries as Orson Welles' brutally tricky "F for Fake" and Chris Marker's devastatingly funny "Letter to Siberia", but with Greenaway's very distinctive obsession with structure that seems to show up in much of his filmography.

Brilliantly lampooning preachy academics who presume to know more about an artist's work than the artists themselves, "Vertical Features Remake" is nominally about an artist named "Tulse Luper", who was apparently planning on creating a sort of film based upon photographs he pathologically captured of vertical objects (trees, telephone boles, sticks stuck in the ground, etc.), but died before being able to complete it, leaving it unfinished. The film depicts four attempts by presumptuous analytical academics trying their own hands at attempting to reconstruct his vision, and of course, they all completely disagree on what his "vision" *was*, and it becomes a sort of hilarious, almost "Rashomon"-esque breakdown as the four films depicted are drastically different in tone (to the point that the amusingly foreboding piano key poundings that accompany and punctuate each scene are wildly different between each version, with "Vertical" leaving me in hysterics as the pianist is just assaulting the poor thing).

The aspect that pushes the film to the lofty score it's going to receive, though, is ridiculously verbose and proper British narrator Colin Cantlie, whose narration is so hilariously detailed that it becomes unimportant what he's even saying, just the fact that he's saying so damn MUCH of it, and from there, the film gets so amusingly complicated that I just couldn't stop laughing...for instance, we're told that not only do they disagree on what Luper's vision was, no one's even sure if Luper even exists! (Some argue that all the pictures of Luper are actually the editor's father-in-law), or when the third film is criticized by the fourth director as being "too ingenious".

A good DVD special feature is designed to perfectly compliment the main feature, so if "The Falls" is anything like this, it may just have a shot at making my top 300, and considering "Zorn's Lemma"'s placement IN my top 300, I won't rule out this fabulous piece of work either.

{Grade: 9/10 (A-) / #4 (of 18) of 1978}


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