7.5/10
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The Falls (1980)

92 BBC documentary-style shorts that record the lives of 92 victims of the VUE (Violent Unexplained Event), each with last names beginning with "Fall."

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Westley
Aad Wirtz
Michael Murray
Lorna Poulter
Patricia Carr
Adam Leys ...
Narrator
Mary Howard
Sheila Canfield ...
Narrator
Evelyn Owen
...
Narrator (as Hilary Thompson)
Carole Meyer
Monica Hyde
Colleen Thomas
Neil Hopkins
Dewi Thomas
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Storyline

The planet has been affected by a mysterious occurrence known as the Violent Unknown Event, or V.U.E. It has caused immortality and disability. Victims have learned new and peculiar languages. Some firmly believe in the responsibility of birds. In this three-hour film, ninety-two biographies are presented of victims whose surnames begin with the letters F A L L. Presented in the mock documentary style of 'Water Wrackets' and 'Dear Phone', this is the culmination of the first period of Greenaway's work. It refers to shorts such as 'A Walk Through H' and 'Vertical Features Remake', and forwards to the likes of 'Drowning by Numbers' (there is reference to the three generations of Cissie Colpitts). Michael Nyman's sound-track is memorable; he later remade the 'Bird List Song' (which features in a variety of forms), as 'Hands 2 Take' with arty British band the Flying Lizards (best known for their minimal version of 'Money (that's what I want)'. Written by D.Giddings <darren.giddings@newcastle.ac.uk>

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Comedy | Sci-Fi

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Release Date:

24 July 1996 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Balesetek krónikája  »

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Trivia

Some of the location work for this film was done in the Lleyn Peninsula in Wales, and Peter Greenaway received extensive help at this time from members of the local Film Society. In gratitude, he offered to allow them to give the film its first-ever public screening as the first offering of their new season. The fact that it was a world premiere received extensive publicity, as did Greenaway's presence on the evening, and the committee of the society made it a members-only event to bolster their finances. As a result, on the night of the showing, the Lleyn Film Society had more members than ever before, but the actual showing of the film proved something of a disaster - audience members began walking out after only twenty minutes or so, and by the last half-hour of the film (which is over three hours long), the only people left in the auditorium were Greenaway and the committee members. Subsequent showings of the society were poorly attended. See more »

Connections

References The Four Feathers (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sterne meets Python meets PBS
7 January 2003 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

"The Falls" is an extraordinary piece of work. Nothing else comes close. The biographies of 92 victims of the "VUE" ("Violent Unexplained Event") whose surnames begin with the letters f-a-l-l, Greenaway's film is a mixture of the encyclopedic, the sinister, the silly and the plain mad. At 3h30, mad as Monty Python and as rambling as Laurence Sterne, shot and narrated in public television documentary-style, "The Falls" is designed to be exhaustive and wear you out; Greenaway himself has on occasion stated that nothing forces you to sit through, and that the film might actually work better if you just dip into it at random - "browse" was the word he used.

When I saw it, there were only myself and two other friends still in the cinema by the time the lights came up. All three of us were absolutely delighted, exhilarated in the manner of kids coming back from the Science Museum. Words like "mesmeric", "entrancing" and "fascinating" were used to discuss it afterwards, as well as "plain daft" (meant as a compliment, of course.)

Not sure if you'll enjoy "The Falls." It depends on what you want from your filmed entertainment, I guess. If you don't really think cinema should do anything other than tell stories that are easy on the brain, don't bother. If you love lists, however, and think intellectual challenge is entertaining, on the other hand, you're in for a treat.

One final note - whoever thought of recommending "Titanic" to fans of "The Falls" is obviously on some really heavy drug I've never heard about. What is it, and what other side effects does it have?


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